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UNIVERSITY 
ivl U S 1 CAL 
ENCYCLOPEDIA 



THE OPERA: 

HISTORY AND 

GUIDE 

Containing Detailed Plots of the 
Principal Operas 



By Many Em, 



ilflh.la^ 



EJlltrs, Experts, and Sptiiat 

Contrlbiitun, imludwg 

LILLIAN NORDICA, 

GUSTAV KOBBE, 

E. MARKHAM LEE, 

CHARLES ANNESLEY, and 

FRANZ CHARLEY 



Ml 



NOTE TO THE READER 

The paper in this volume is brittle or the 
inner margins are extremely narrow. 

We have bound or rebound the volume 
utilizing the best means possible. 

PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE 

GWUflAL BOOKBINOmO CO, CHCS-n.1tU>MO. OWttO 



600246 

Copyright, 1912 
By The University Society Inc. 



Copyright, 1910 
By The University Society Inc. 

tIJ ' ( 

l.i ■_ < 

\ ■ ; 



• •-• • »• •• 



• • 



• • • • • • * 



• ••»"•• 



• • • 



* 



•- • • 






• - • 









CONTENTS 



THE OPERA— HISTORY AND GUIDE 

PAGE 

Origin and Development of Opera i 



PHASES OF OPERATIC HISTORY, AND 

MISCELLANY 

English Opera from the Eighteenth to the 

Present Century 17 

Slavonic Opera 22 

Opera To-day in Italy, Germany, and France 27 

The Chief Opera Houses of the World 35 

Offshoots and Curiosities of Opera 45 

Potpourri 55 

The Task of the Prima Donna 66 

By Lillian Nordica 

Wagner's Personality ^2 

By Gustav Kobbe 

The Business Side of Grand Opera 86 

By Gustav Kobbe 

STORIES OF THE OPERAS 

Abduction from the Seraglio, The 163 

L'Africaine loi 

Aida 104 

Alcestb 106 

V 



vi CONTENTS 

PAGB 

L'Amico Fritz loj 

Armide 109 

Ballo in Maschera, Un iii 

Ballo in Maschera, or Gustavus the Third. 114 

Barber of Bagdad, The 117 

Barber of Seville, The 120 

Barbier von Bagdad, Der I17 

Barbiere di Seviglia, II 120 

Bartered Bride, The 350 

Bat, The 183 

Beiden Schutzen, Die 121 

Black Domino, The 150 

Boheme, La 124 

Bohemian Girl, The 128 

Carmen 130 

Cavalleria Rusticana 132 

CiD, Le 134 

Contes d'Hoffmann, Les 137 

cosi fan tutte i4i 

Cricket on the Hearth, The 211 

Czar and Carpenter 142 

Czar und Zimmermann 142 

Dame blanche. La 144 

Damnation de Faust, La 147 

Daughter of the Regiment, Thi: 181 

DiNORAH 149 

Domino noir, Le 150 

Don Giovanni 15^ 

Don Juan 152 

Don Pasquale 154 

Dragons de Villars, Les 157 

Elektra 161 

Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, Die 163 

Ernani 164 

Esmeralda 167 

EuGEN Onegin 168 

Falstaff 171 

Faust i73 

Feuersnot 176 



CONTENTS vii 

PAGE 

FroELio 178 

FiGLIA DEL ReGGIMENTO, La 181 

Fire Famine, The 176 

Fledermaus, Die 183 

Fliegende Hollander, Der 187 

Flying Dutchman, The 187 

Fra Diavolo igo 

Freischutz, Der 192 

Friend Fritz 107 

Genoveva 196 

Gotterdammerung 198 

GUILLAUME TeLI 202 

GUSTAVUS THE ThIRD II4 

Hans Heiling 204 

Hansel und Gretel 207 

Hkimchen AM Herd, Das 211 

Hermit's Bell, The 157 

Hoffmann's Tales 137 

Huguenots, Les 214 

Iphigenie en Aulide 217 

IjPHIGENIE EN TaURJDE 2I9 

Jewess, The 223 

Jongleur de Notre-Dame, Le 221 

Joseph 222 

Juggler of Notre-Dame, The 221 

JuivE, La 223 

KoNiGiN VON Saba, Die 226 

Lohengrin 229 

Louise 232 

Lucia di Lammermoor 235 

LucREZJA Borgia 236 

Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Die 238 

Maccabees, The 240 

Madame Butterfly 243 

Magic Flute, The 361 

Manon 248 

Manru 253 

Marriage of Figaro, The 270 

Martha 256 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Masaniello, or La Muette de Portici 258 

Masked Ball, A iii 

Mefistofele 260 

Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Die 261 

Merry Wives of Windsor, The 238 

MiGNON 266 

Muette de Portici, La 258 

Norma 268 

NozzE Di Figaro, Le 270 

Nuremberg Doll, The 273 

Nurnberger Puppe, Die 273 

Oberon 276 

ORFEO ED EURIDICE 279 

Otello 280 

Pagliacci, I 283 

Parsifal 286 

Paul and Virginia 289 

Pelleas et Melisande 292 

Philemon et Baucis 294 

Pipe of Desire, The 296 

PoiA 299 

Postilion of Longjumeau, The 301 

Prophete, Le 303 

puritani, 1 306 

Queen of Sheba, The 226 

Rheingold, Das 307 

RiGOLETTO 310 

Robert le Diable 312 

Roi L^A DiT, Le 315 

Romeo et Juliette 319 

Salome 320 

Samson et Dalila 321 

Siegfried 323 

Sonnambula, La 326 

Tannhauser 327 

Thais 331 

TiEFLAND 334 

ToscA, La 336 

Traviata^ La 341 



CONTENTS ix 

PAGE 

Tristan und Isolde 343 

Trovatore, II 345 

Twilight of the Gods 198 

Two Guardsmen, The 121 

Valkyrs, The 353 

Vampire, The 347 

Verkaufte Braut, Die 350 

Walkure, Die 353 

Werther 356 

William Tell 202 

Zampa 359 

Zauberflote, Die 361 



INDEX OF COMPOSERS 
Adam, Adolphe Charles : 

Die Niirnberger Puppe 273 

The Postilion of Longjumeau 301 

Albert, Eugen d' : 

Tiefland 334 

AuBER, Daniel F. E. : 

Ballo in Maschera, or Gustavus the Third 114 

Lc domino noir 150 

Fra Diavolo 190 

Masaniello, or La Muette de Portici 258 

Balfe, Michael William : 

The Bohemian Girl 128 

Beethoven, Ludwig van : 

Fidelio 178 

Bellini, Vincenzo: 

/Norma 268 

I Puritani 306 

La Sonnambula 326 

Berlioz, Hector: 

La Damnation de Faust I47 

fZET, Georges: 
Carmen 130 

Boieldieu, FRANgois Adrien : 

La dame blandie 144 



X CONTENTS 

BoiTO, Arrigo: pacse 

Mefistofele 260 

Charpentier, Gustave: 

\X Louise 232 

Converse, Frederick S. : 

The Pipe of Desire 296 

Cornelius, Peter : 

Der Barbier von Bagdad 117 

Lc Cid 134 

Debussy, Claude: 

Pelleas ct Melisande 292 

Delibes, Clement P. L. : 

Le roi Ta dit 31$ 

Donizetti, Gaetano: * 

Don Pasqualc 154 

^ La Figlia del Reggimento 181 

v-' Lucia di Lammermoor 235 

'- Lucrezia Borgia 236 

Flotow, Friedricii von : 

' . Martha 256 

dLucK, Christoph Willibald : 

Alceste io6- 

Armide 109 

Iphigenie en Aulide 217 

Iphigenie en Tauride 219 

Or f eo ed Euridice 279 

GoLDMARK, Karl: 

Das Heimchen am Herd 211 

Die Konigin von Saba 226 

Gounod, Ch.vrles Fkaxcjois: 
\ Faust 173 

! Philemon et Baucis 294 

Romeo et Juliette 319 

Halevy, Jacques : 

La Juive 223 

Herold, Louis J. F. : 

Zampa 359 

Humpf:rdinck, Engelbert: 

Hansel und Gretcl 207 

Leoncavallo, Ruggieri : 

I Pagliacci 283 

Lortzing, Gustav Albert: 

Die beiden Schiitzen 121 

Czar und Zimmcrmann 142 



CONTENTS XI 

Maillart, Louis Aime: pace 

Les dragons de villars 157 

Marschner, Heinrich : 

Hans Heiling 204 

The Vampire 347 

Mascagni, Pietro : 

UAmico Fritz 107 

Cavalleria Rusticana 132 

Mass6, Victor (Felix Marie) : 

Paul and Virginia 289 

Massenet^ Jules : 

Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame 221 

Manon 248 

Thais 331 

Werther 356 

MtHVL, £tienne Nicolas: 

Joseph 222 

Meyerbeer, Giacomo: 

L'Africaine loi 

Dinorah 149 

Les Huguenots 214 

Le Prophete ^ 303 

Robert le Diable 312 

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: 

Cosi fan tutte 141 

Don Giovanni 152 

Die Entf iihrung aus dem Serail 163 

Le Nozze di Figaro 270 

Die Zauberflote 361 

Nevin, Arthur Finley : 

Poia 299 

NicoLAi, Otto : 

Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor 238 

Offenbach, Jacques: 

Les contes d'Hoffmann 137 

Paderewski, Ignace Jan : 

Manru 253 

Puccini, Giacomo: 

La Boheme , 124 

Madame Butterfly 243 

La Tosca 336 

Rossini, Gioachino Antonio: 

II Barbiere di Seviglia 120 

Guillaume Tell 202 



xii CONTENTS 

Rubinstein, Anton : page 

The Maccabees 240 

/ Saint-Saens, Charles Camille : 

Samson et Dalila 321 

Schumann, Robert: 

Genoveva 196 

Smetana, Friedrich : 

Die Verkaufte Braut 350 

Strauss, Johann : 

Die Fledermaus 18$ 

Strauss, Richard: 

Elektra 161 

Feuersnot 176 

Salome 320 

Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyitch : 

Eugen Onegin 168 

^ Thomas, Ambroise: 

Mignon 266 

/( Thomas, Arthur Goring: 

' Esmeralda 167 

Verdi, Giuseppe : 

Aida 104 

Un Ballo in Maschera in 

Ernani 164 

Falstaff 171 

Otello 280 

Rigoletto 31C 

La Traviata 341 

II Trovatore 345 

Wagner, Richard: 

Der Fliegende Hollander 187 

Gotterdammerung 198 

Lohengrin 229 

Die Meistersinger von Niirnberg 263 

Parsifal 286 

Das Rheingold 307 

Siegfried 323 

Tannhau&er 227 

Tristan und Isolde 343 

Die Walkurc 353 

Weber, Karl M. von : 

Der Freischiitz 192 

Oberon • 276 



CONTENTS xifi 



ADDITIONAL OPERAS 

PAGE 

Fanciulla del West, La 365 

Girl of the Golden West, The 365 

Kingly Children 369 

konigskinder 369 

Natoma 373 



COMPOSERS 
Herbert, Victor : 

Natoma 373 

Humperdinck, Engelbert: 

Konigskinder ^9 

Puccini, Giacomo : 

Fanciulla del West, La 365 



THE OPERA 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 



THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF 

OPERA 

TTHE term "opera," derived, or rather abbreviated, 
'*' from the words opera in musica (works in music 
— i.e., a musical work), is only a convenient title that 
has found favor by its brevity and through lack of a 
better. Translate it and read "works," and we see 
that it is a meaningless term in all else than that it 
is something created. 

And what is this "something" that has been created, 
that is in people's mouths so often, and that we desig- 
nate by the word opera? The least cultured will be 
able to answer that it is a work for the stage, in which 
music plays a prominent part ; that it is this, and some- 
thing more, must be shown as we study its rise and 
development. 

Since ordinary feelings or emotions are by no 
means naturally expressed by musical sounds, opera 
must be admitted to be a thing of artificiality. Some 
will ask: Since the introduction of music into a dra- 
matic work admits an unreal element into that which 



THE OPERA 



4 



might otherwise receive a natural interpretation, how 
can its existence be justified? The answer is: What- 
ever may be the feeUngs or actions to be expressed hy 
the stage characters, proper and suitable music will 
express them with far gr^atpr intensity and far greater 
power than will spoken words or mere gesture. Such 
are the emotional qualities of the art of music that a 
phrase of quite ordinary significance in words may be- 
come, if wedded to expressive music, a thing of beauty 
and life; an emotional feeling may be roused in the 
auditor that the mere spoken word could never have 
touched. In the case of words that may themselves 
contain beautiful ideas, their loveliness can be greatly 
enhanced by the addition of music, their meaning in- 
tensified, their impressiveness doubled. 

Artificial, then, as opera is, and must be, it can 
justify its artificiality. A drama is put upon the stage, 
and in order that its situations, its sentiments, and its 
meaning may be more fully expounded, music is called 
in to elucidate, to express, and to beautify. Admitting 
the possibility of this — which no one who has the least 
feeling for music, or who is at all moved emotionally 
by the art of sweet sounds, can deny — we find that 
opera justifies its existence, despite its unreality and 
its unlikeness to life. 

But not all opera is sung throughout. There are 
many musical works under this name having spoken 
dialogue. Justification for these is more difficult, for 
it may be readily understood that one form of expres- 
sion should be used throughout, and that this modified 
form of opera (known as singspiel), being neither one 
thing nor the other, is a hybrid form, which really has 
no right of admission to the title of opera at all. The 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 3 

fact that it is often effective and highly popular hardi- 
ly excuses its violation of art- form. So many plays 
of this kind with musical numbers were written at a 
certain period of the history of the art, and classed as 
operas, that their claims cannot be overlooked; but 
modem taste in opera demands that one medium of 
expression be made use of throughout, and thus a re- 
turn has been made to the early and more artistic 
form of opera in musica — the true form, of which the 
singspiel is only an offshoot. 

An opera, then, is a play designed for the stage, with 
scenery, costumes, and action used as accessories as 
^4ft-ay stage plays, but with the additional use of music 
to intensify the meanings of the lines uttered by the 
characters, to heighten the effect produced by the other 
combined arts, and to add an emotional element that 
might otherwise be lacking. 

It is a curious and interesting fact that the birth of 
opera should be due more or less to accident, and 
should owe its origin to a group of amateurs; but so 
it is, and to the blind gropings in the dark after a 
something (they knew not what) of a small circle of 
polished scholars we owe the form of opera as we 
have it to-day. 

It is impossible to trace back to the earliest times 
the addition of music to a stage play; but from the 
constant references to the use of the art made by the 
Greek poets, we know that it was a handmaid to the 
drama from very early days. In the Middle Ages, as 
there is plenty of evidence to show, at certain stated 
intervals in the course of the drama music was intro- 
duced ; but such music was written in the Church style 
of the period, and had no significance of its own. 



4 THE OPERA 

It was the annoying and incongruous presentation 
of polypiionic music (written in strict contrapuntal 
style, and in the Church manner) with the perform- 
ance of dramas, in which such music was utterly out 
of place, that led the group of amateurs to search for 
a more suitable means of clothing the dramatic ideas 
and stage situations. 

This band of dilettanti is generally known by the 
name of the ** Palazzo Bardi" coterie, from the fact 
that their chief representative was a certain Count 
Bardi, and that their meetings were usually held at 
his palace in Florence. This city, at the period of 
which we write (the last part of the sixteenth cen- 
tury), was highly interested in the masterpieces of 
literary antiquity, more especially in the magnificent 
dramas of the older Greek poets. Although the Flor- 
entines knew that these tragedies had some form of 
musical accompaniment, they were quite in the dark as 
to what that music was. They felt, however, that the 
one prevalent kind of music of their day — sacred music 
— was by no means adequate for the expression of the 
ideas to be represented. The Bardi amateurs there- 
fore turned the steps of their native musicians toward 
other paths, and induced them to write music of a kind 
which they believed to be dramatically fit and suitable. 
That this music was a failure does not matter in the 
least, for although it was unable to give any genuine 
idea of what these enthusiasts sought — a reproduction 
of Greek tragedy consistent with its original form — it 
invented a new medium and method of expression, of 
which composers soon availed themselves in setting to 
music the dramatic productions of the day. 
The first of these early composers to achieve sue- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 5 

cess in this field was Peri, who produced in 1594 (or 
1597) '*Dafne/* and a few years later (1600) **Eurid- 
ice." "Dafne" was semiprivately performed, but 
"Euridice" was put before the world, and achieved 
such success that its method and style of composition 
were soon taken as models for stage music. Hence 
the date 1600 is assigned as that of the birth of real 
opera. The same year also witnessed the production 
of the first real oratorio, as we now understand the 
term. 

Peri led the way ; others followed. Within a decade 
Northern Italy produced a whole school of writers 
who had grafted their ideas on those of the composer 
of ''Euridice/' chief among them being Caccini, who 
won great fame in the new style. But the chief merit 
must be accorded to Peri, for it is to him that we 
owe the invention of the dramatic recitative ; that is to 
say, instead of coupling the dialogue to music that 
might have been designed for the Church, as his pred- 
ecessors had been content to do, he endeavored in his 
operas to allow the singing voice to depict the ideas 
expressed by inflections such as would be made by 
the speaking voice under similar circumstances. 

Thus was opera, in our modern meaning of the term, 
begun, and this, too, on a proper, logical, esthetic basis. 
It was in 1600 a new form, an untried and questionable 
innovation; but it contained the elements of strength 
and endurance, and by rapid steps grew and developed, 
until within a few years all other methods of accom- 
panying stage plays by music were obsolete, and the 
new monodic style held unquestioned sway. 

Opera in Italy, after its initial stages, as represented 
by the works of Peri and Caccini, fell under the com- 



6 THE OPERA 

manding sway of Monteverde, of whom we shall 
further speak. 

Monteverde was followed by his pupil Cavalli, who 
worked in Venice, and who improved the recitative ; in 
his operas, male sopranos (castrati) were first em- 
ployed on the stage — ^a practice in vogue for many 
years subsequently. Cavalli also foreshadowed the 
aria, or set melody, soon to become so prominent a 
feature of Italian opera. Among other prominent 
composers of this period are Cesti and Legrenzi, Cal- 
dara and Vivaldi. 

These men, however, stand completely overshadowed 
by that colossus of early opera, Alessandro Scarlatti. 
Naples was the scene of his activity, and here he wrote, 
among countless other compositions, over one hundred 
operas, most of which made their mark. In Scarlatti 
we have the turning-point between antiquity and mo- 
dernity in stage music. His great genius for melody 
caused him to modify very considerably the stiff, 
though dramatically correct, recitative of earlier com- 
posers, and to substitute beautiful, if sometimes in- 
appropriate, airs in its place. 

In this dangerous method of exalting the music at 
the expense of the other arts employed in music-drama 
he was followed by almost all composers for many 
years — until, in fact, the recognition by Gluck of the 
falseness of the situation. Opera writers there were 
by the hundred, the names of most of whom are now 
forgotten. Rossi, Caldara, Lotti, Bononcini, all had 
their successes, and contributed in various degrees to 
the development of early Italian opera. 

But before this, opera had found its way to France ; 
the world-renowned '*Euridice" had been performed 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 7 

in Paris as early as 1647, ^^^ ^^s influence was quickly 
felt. Robert Cambert was the first French writer to 
produce opera. He was ousted from his deservedly 
high position as the founder of French opera by the 
unscrupulous and brilliant Lulli. 

Coming from Florence to Paris at an early age, Lulli 
quickly saw his way to improving on the popular op- 
eras of Cambert, and his inventive and fertile talent 
soon put the older writer into the background. Lulli's 
great gift lay less in aptitude for the conception of 
melody, less even in his skill with the orchestra, than 
in the powers he possessed of writing truly dramatic 
and suitably expressive recitative. Moreover, he em- 
ployed his chorus as an integral factor in the situation, 
not as a mere collection of puppets encumbering the 
stage; he is credited, too, with the invention of the 
"French" overture, a form in which an introductory 
slow movement is followed by another in quick fugal 
style, with a third short dance movement to conclude. 
His mark upon French opera exists till this day. 

Germany at the same period can boast of no name of 
like importance, but operatic development was also 
taking place in that country. The chief agent in its 
progress was Keiser, who produced a great number 
of operas in Hamburg. Although not the first to write 
such works in Germany, he is important as being an 
early factor in the popularization of opera during the 
forty years in which he labored in this direction. He 
had also many followers, among whom must be named 
Handel, who wrote a few operas for Hamburg at an 
early period of his career. German opera at this time, 
however, gave but little promise of the grand future 
before it: the operas of Keiser and Hasse contain 



8 THE OPERA 

but few indications of the glories of a school of com- 
posers that includes Mozart, Beethoven, and Weber. 

In England Henry Purcell was in part occupied by 
the composition of operas. Many of these are operas 
by courtesy only, for in only one of them, "Dido and 
iEneas," is the music continuous throughout. This, 
however, may claim for itself the title of the first 
English opera. The wholly sound and esthetically true 
national influence of Purcell would undoubtedly have 
been large, and it is not too much to say that an early 
school of genuine English opera might have flourished, 
had it not been that Handel, within a few years of 
Purcell's death, was turning his attention to the pro- 
duction of opera in London. For although Handel 
produced operas in Germany and Italy as well as in 
England, it was in London that the great majority of 
his pieces first saw the Ught, and that he achieved the 
greatest success. Between the date of the first per- 
formance of "Rinaldo" at the Haymarket in 171 1 and 
that of his last opera, "Deidamia," in 1741, Handel 
composed no less than forty-two grand operas. With 
indomitable energy, and in face of very frequent mis- 
fortune, he poured forth these works, many of which 
contain powerful music. Few now, however, would 
care to sit through a performance of any of Handel's 
operas, or indeed of those by any of the composers 
above mentioned. 

The changes that have taken place in opera during 
the three hundred years which constitute the life of 
modern music are far more prominent and important 
than those that have been undergone by the ordinary 
dramatic work. The arts of elocution, gesture, and 
stage action are very old, and have seen little radical 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 9 

change for many centuries. Great progress has been 
made through the use of modern mechanical devices 
and inventions in the mounting of stage pieces — in the 
scenery employed, the lighting, and stage effects gen- 
erally. These all appeal to the eye ; but the appeal to 
the ear is not, in an ordinary dramatic work, more 
powerfully made than it was in the days of the Greek 
dramatist. But when music is added, then appeal to 
the ear of a most powerful kind takes place, and dur- 
ing its whole life improvements and growth in musical 
technique and expression have been grafted upon opera 
with continuously progressive power and effect. As 
musical skill and knowledge grew, as additional instru- 
ments were added to the orchestra, as knowledge of 
forms developed, all these improvements found their 
way into operatic music, with the result that the dif- 
ference between, say, a seventeenth and an eighteenth 
century opera is very wide, while a vaster difference 
still may be seen between one of the eighteenth and one 
of the twentieth century. 

This difference is mainly due to men who were not 
content to leave opera where they found it. They set 
themselves to the construction of new works as ex- 
amples of what could and should be done. First of 
these reformers came Monteverde. So many innova- 
tions are connected with his name that he would ap- 
pear to have been a reformer of music in general. 
Certainly opera before his time was a very different 
thing from subsequent opera. He applied the same 
daring innovations to his operatic music which he had 
employed in his Church music. These consisted main- 
ly in an utter disregard for the principles of strict 
counterpoint, and a free use of unprepared discords. 



lo THE OPERA 

So great was Monteverde's success, so dramatic and 
expressive his music, that all composers since his day 
have followed in his footsteps, and have composed 
operas on the model of free and unfettered writing 
originated by him. A century and more later we find 
a new reformer in Gluck. What had happened in the 
meantime? Opera had fallen under the great and 
commanding influence of Alessandro Scarlatti, whose 
methods, if not amounting to reform, had certainly 
led to change, in some respects to abuse. Scarlatti 
invented beautiful melodies and cast them into a regu- 
lar mold, so that an audience knew that it only had to 
wait while a second part was gone through to hear 
again a first part that had perhaps given much pleas- 
ure. This was his famous use of the da-capo aria. 
It was a kind of encore, granted without trouble or 
uncertainty. We can imagine the melody-loving Ital- 
ians of the day welcoming this beautiful and artistic 
innovation. But the beauty and charm of the idea 
compassed its own ruin ; for, being but a formal pro- 
cedure, it did not equally suit every situation; indeed, 
it may readily be understood that there must have been 
many occasions when it was little short of absurd, for 
stage purposes, to go twice through the same emotional 
aspects and crises. Apart from its dramatic unfitness, 
the real mischief of the da-capo aria lay in the fact 
that it attracted too much attention from the plot. The 
real origin of opera was lost sight of, dramatic con- 
siderations were practically ignored, and the perform- 
ance became of a lyrical, rather than of a dramatic, 
nature. 

Gluck had written many operas on this plan before 
it occurred to him to try to reform it, but his artistic 



HISTORY AND GUIDE ii 

nature at last revolted against the absurdities of works 
of this type. He set himself the task of remodeling 
the music, in a manner which can best be explained 
by quoting his own words, written in the famous pref- 
ace to the score of "Alceste" : 

"When I undertook to set the opera of 'Alceste' to 
music, I resolved to avoid all those abuses which had 
crept into Italian opera through the mistaken vanity 
of singers and the unwise compliance of composers, 
and which had rendered it wearisome and ridiculous, 
instead of being, as it once was, the grandest and most 
imposing stage of modem times. I endeavored to 
reduce music to its proper function, that of seconding 
poetry, by enforcing the expression of the sentiment, 
and the interest of the situations, without interrupting 
the action, or weakening it by superfluous ornament." 

Gluck had many battles to fight before he gained 
public opinion to his side; but eventually he brought 
the artistic world round to his point of view, with the 
result that a complete change of method was again 
adopted by composers. 

Years passed away, and operas both good and bad 
were written. Mozart, with his beautiful and deli- 
cate pen ; Beethoven, with his imperishable picture of 
the faithful wife; Weber, the composer par excellence 
of Romantic opera; Spohr, and others all left their 
influences — in the main thoroughly artistic and beau- 
tiful — upon music-drama. But to this chain of great 
classics succeeded a group of lesser luminaries whose 
tendencies were less truthfully artistic, whose leanings 
were popular rather than esthetic, and whose influence 
was to a great extent mischievous. Opera was again 
straying from the right lines ; again the singers, with 



12 THE OPERA 

their executive abilities, were distracting attention 
from the equally important dramatic meaning of the 
works performed. Again the aria and duet were usurp- 
ing the place of music that should have been defining 
the stage situation, and conveying to the ear of the 
auditor a tone-picture to match the scenic representa- 
tion and help to carry on the action of the piece. 

It needed a strong hand to stem the tide on this 
occasion, and a strong hand was available in the person 
of Richard Wagner, whose efforts have revolutionized 
opera to so great an extent that it is unlikely that any 
great work for the stage will ever be conceived in the 
future which will not show traces of his influence. For 
he took no half-measures, but went to the root of the 
matter, and that in so thorough a way that he really 
invented an utterly new phase of expression. 

Wagner, whose great idea it was that in the render- 
ing of opera the arts of music, action, poetry, and 
scenery should stand on an equal footing, was unable 
to allow attention to be devoted to the music in the 
very special way in which it was drawn when set forms 
of song or air were admitted. He gradually worked 
his way to the construction of what was, until his time, 
an absolutely unknown form of dramatic accompani- 
ment. The great and original innovation of Wagner 
was his use of melody (a feature non-existent in the 
works of the monodic writers) ; not melody of the 
stereotyped nature which we designate as tune, nor 
even the rhythmic, square-cut, and often beautifully 
appropriate melody of a Mozart or a Beethoven. Wag- 
ner's melodies were so constructed that they had, gen- 
erally speaking, definite signification. Every subject 
(or Leitmotiv, as it was called) was intended to sug- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 13 

gest to the mind of the hearer some definite idea con- 
nected with something occurring upon or suggested by 
the stage. Since the stage action or words would very 
often describe or suggest many ideas at the same 
time, these themes would be often superimposed ; with 
the result that the music of Wagner's operas — at any 
rate the later ones — ^is not so much a stream of melody 
as a flow of many combined melodies, working to- 
gether in contrapuntal richness and fertility into a 
harmonious whole, which can be listened to either 
casually (in which case it may or may not please the 
auditor) or after considerable study, when it will un- 
doubtedly awake interest and admiration. 

The lazy, pleasure-loving portion of mankind was 
immediately up in arms against such startling methods 
as these, and even to-day, although the Wagner cult 
is a very considerable one, it is to be doubted whether 
the real tastes of the majority of operatic listeners are 
not rather for something demanding less careful and 
close attention. Whether this be so or not, the point 
remains that Wagner's innovations, when once under- 
stood and grasped, were seen to be so dramatically 
true and fitting that all composers of operas, since his 
works became widely known, have come under his in- 
fluence, and have in large measure framed their dra- 
matic music on the lines laid down by him. 

Here, then, was another revolution, and an import- 
ant one. Formal melody still exists on the stage, but 
the continuous interconnecting links of melos are de- 
rived from Wagner, while the wondrous harmonies 
and chord combinations which he was the first to in- 
troduce into opera have been so many additions to the 
material the modem composer has for manipulation. 



PHASES OF OPERATIC HISTORY 
AND MISCELLANY 



PHASES OF OPERATIC HIS- 
TORY, AND MISCELLANY 



I. ENGLISH OPERA FROM THE EIGHTEENTH 
TO THE PRESENT CENTURY 

"The Beggar's Opera" — Arne — Bishop — Balfe — Wallace- 
Thomas — Sullivan — Living Composers. 

npHERE is not much to boast of, so far as English 
* operatic music is concerned, from the death of 
Purcell to about the middle of the nineteenth century, 
Purceirs work, in its limited field, was excellent, but 
Handel's powerful personality attracted so much at- 
tention to the Italian methods of composition that no 
other style found real favor for many years. 

Opera, of course, existed in England, but it was of 
the Italian order: indeed, there was so much said 
against the unfortunate English language as a medium 
of vocal expression that native talent had little or no 
chance of distinguishing itself. The only work that 
stands out during this period as being essentially Eng- 
lish was a curious medley of songs and airs called 
"The Beggar's Opera" produced in 1728, but even 
this was arranged by Pepusch, a German. The old 

17 



i8 THE OPERA 

genuine English tunes were, however, used in this, 
and its one or two successors, but the music is not of 
a serious type. The airs are simple and simply har- 
monized, and make no comparison with the Handel 
or Bononcini operas. 

One of the first Englishmen to write opera on the 
prevalent Italian model was Thomas Arne, whose chief 
work was "Artaxerxes." He also wrote many masques 
or plays with incidental music. To-day he is best 
known as the reputed author of **Rule Britannia," and 
of the popular and tuneful setting of Shakespeare's 
words **Where the Bee sucks." 

The English style of composition of this period, 
which is in the main vigorous, manly, and bold, was 
not at all suited to the taste of the fashionable public, 
who were led to believe that the florid and effeminate 
Italian airs were the only true method of operatic 
composition; consequently we are not surprised that 
native talent was overlooked and ignored, and that 
England has nothing to show that will compare with 
what was going on in Italy, Germany, and France at a 
corresponding period. 

Arne*s name is still remembered and his tunes sung, 
but the same can hardly be said of his followers and 
successors, Shield, Storace, Kelly, and others. Al- 
though these men attempted dramatic composition in 
the style of Arne, they had no very definite model 
upon which to work, and they were more successful 
in the glee and madrigal than in stage work. Some of 
their songs are heard now and then, but their influence 
on national opera was very slight. 

The eighteenth century is indeed a period of blank in 
English operatic history, and in spite of the work of 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 19 

Henry Bishop, who wrote effective concerted num- 
bers, the earlier part of the nineteenth century had but 
little more to show. Bishop was content to leave the 
English "ballad opera" where he found it, although he 
had the ability to found a national school of opera had 
he possessed the requisite energy and initiative. 

The first English composer after Arne to produce 
anything attaining to real popularity, and really de- 
serving the name of opera, was Balfe, who, following 
an example set by John Barnett in his opera "The 
Mountain Sylph," produced in 1835 "The Siege of 
Rochelle," and eight years later the well-known "Bo- 
hemian Girl." That these operas are not of a particu- 
larly exalted type must be admitted ; the airs are tune- 
ful and mostly commonplace. There can be no com- 
parison, for example, between "The Bohemian Girl" 
and "Faust" ; for although both make a ready and im- 
mediate appeal, the artistic standard is much lower in 
the English than in the French work. But still the 
work of Balfe was an immense advance on the poorly 
constructed ballad opera that had hitherto found ac- 
ceptance, and it helped to pave the way to higher 
ideals and better methods. 

On about the same plane is Wallace, whose most 
popular work is "Maritana" — even more trying to listen 
to (for the cultured hearer) than "The Bohemian 
Girl." These works, although poor and of no interest 
to the musician, yet play a part in the education of 
the people. Those quite unenlightened in the forms 
of opera can make a good start by at first listening to 
works of this type ; and as their experience grows, so 
their taste will undoubtedly improve, and ripen to an 
appreciation of better things. The admiration of the 



20 THE OPERA 

crowd for such works as these, although now less than 
formerly, is not to be altogether condemned, seeing 
that it may in some cases be the means of raising the 
masses to an appreciation of something better and more 
musically satisfactory. 

As musical education in England gradually im- 
proved, so we find the composers more artistic in their 
outlook and more solid in their work. The operas of 
Benedict (1804-85) and Macfarren (1813-87), al- 
though seldom performed now, are the output of tal- 
ented and cultured musicians, who possessed, more- 
over, gifts of melody and dramatic characterization 
which must not be overlooked. Benedict's best opera 
was "The Lily of Killamey," produced in 1862. 

Greater heights still were reached by Arthur Goring 
Thomas (1850-92), who wrote "Esmeralda" and 
"Nadeshda," both works of merit, and from which 
excerpts are frequently given in concert-rooms. 

Last of deceased English opera-composers we 
name Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900), who 
wrote one serious opera, "Ivanhoe" (1891), and a host 
of delightful works of slighter scope to which it is 
hard to give a class-name. They are not quite of the 
opera comique type, nor do they partake of the farcical 
nature of opera bouffe. Perhaps a nondescript term 
such as "light opera" answers as well as any other to 
the charming, harmonious, graceful class of "Sing, 
spiel" which found such favor not only in England 
and America, but in the case of some works (such as 
"The Mikado"), also on the European continent. Their 
popularity, immense some twenty years ago, lately 
appears to be somewhat on the wane ; but they are still 
models of refinement and of good sound musicianship. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 21 

More serious attention has been paid to opera in 
English by composers still living (1910) than by any 
yet named here. With the exception of Sir C. Hubert 
H. Parry, all the chief living composers of English 
nationality have made a bid for fame in grand opera, 
though with only partial success. Those whose efforts 
appear to have led to the best results are Stanford and 
Mackenzie. In England there is less opportunity for 
operatic composers than in almost any other country: 
works when written have little chance of being public- 
ly staged. Occasionally the management of the Grand 
Opera invites a work from an English musician, but 
even then it is sometimes coupled with the condition 
that it be performed in a foreign language. Opera is 
not the delight of the man in the street, as it is in 
many European countries, and the works that find 
favor at Covent Garden seem to be chosen according 
to the wishes of the boxholders and members of the 
syndicate. 

Besides Stanford and Mackenzie, among the com- 
posers making brave endeavors in face of such ad- 
verse conditions are Bunning, Corder, Cowen, De 
Lara, MacCunn, and others. But, notwithstanding 
what these have accomplished or attempted, it is ac- 
knowledged by native critics that, while English opera 
suffers much from lack of opportunity, it suffers more 
from want of individuality. Were English composers 
able to graft on to their style some trace of natural 
characteristics, as we find the Russians and Bohemians 
of to-day have done, there is little doubt but that their 
productions would command a greater interest and a 
more enduring success. 



II. SLAVONIC OPERA 

Early Russian Composers — Glinka — Dargomijsky — Borodin — 
Cesar Cui — Rimski-Korsakov — Tchaikovsky — Polish Opera 
— Bohemian Opera — Smetana — D\oHk — Other European 
Countries. 

'"pHE operas of the Russians, Poles, and Bohemians, 
^ in so far as they possess points of individual in- 
terest, do so by virtue of their natural characteristics. 
It is unnecessary, therefore, to trace back the history 
of opera in these countries to its foundation, as we 
should find that, in the main, it was a borrowed and 
foreign art, employing only methods that had derived 
their origin elsewhere, generally in Italy. 

Although, therefore, we find that opera in Russia 
was produced as early as 1737 on the Italian model, 
and even in the vernacular with some attempt at na- 
tional style in 1756, these early attempts soon gave 
way before the popular style of light Italian pieces, and 
the work of such composers as Volkov, Titov, and 
Cavos may be passed over as unimportant in the his- 
tory of opera. Even the music of that much greater 
musician, Anton Rubinstein, so far as his dramatic 
work goes, is a negligible quantity, in so far as it is 
Teuton in style and without distinction or national 
signification. 

The acknowledged pioneer in this school was Glinka 
(1804-57), who wrote but one work of lasting worth, 
"A Life for the Czar." This opera, however, laid such 

22 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 23 

hold upon the Russian peoples as to have become the 
most popular opera in their repertoire, and we are told 
that it is played invariably for the opening night of the 
season both at Moscow and at St. Petersburg. It is 
intensely national in subject, and although the music 
shows many traces of Italian influence, which is not 
surprising considering its date of production (1836), 
there is still much that has its origin in national song 
and folk theme. Glinka afterward wrote and produced 
a still more national but less successful work entitled 
"Russian and Ludmilla." 

Glinka's one popular opera is not only important in 
itself; it is still more worthy of notice as the stimu- 
lating motive which enabled a large number of younger 
Russians to write works of a similar nature. It must 
be conceded that here the names of these men are 
hardly anything but names ; yet in their own country 
they mean much to the people. The extremely inti- 
mate nature of the music of the operas written by such 
men as Dargomijsky, Serov, Cesar Cui, Rimsky-Kor- 
sakov, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, and Arensky, while 
making for popularity in the country of their produc- 
tion, is a factor against their performance in countries 
where the folk songs and themes introduced would be 
unknown and unappreciated. 

Dargomijsky (1813-69), who has been claimed as 
the founder of modern Russian opera, wrote two fairly 
well-known works, "The Water- Sprite" and "The 
Stone Guest," the story of the latter being closely allied 
to that of Mozart's "Don Giovanni." In his operas 
Dargomijsky seems to have been more or less uncon- 
sciously working on the lines of Wagner in the con- 
struction of his intermediary recitative sections, and 



24 THE OPERA 

his whole method is one of greater advancement than 
that of Glinka. His chief follower was Mussorgsky 
(1839-81), a composer much influenced also by Wag- 
ner. He was also an able literary critic. His most 
famous work was entitled "Judith." 

Borodin (1834-87), a capable chemist as well as a 
skilled musician, has a name for the composition of 
clever examples of chamber music. To the operatic 
repertoire he contributed "Prince Igor," a work fol- 
lowing Italian methods to some extent, but still pos- 
sessing much that stamps its Russian origin. It is 
one of the few members of its class that are cheerful 
in tone, with an absence of that pessimism which is 
the prevalent feature of so much Russian music. 

Cesar Cui (bom 1835) has composed "Ratcliff," 
"Angelo," "Le Flibustier," and other works, the last 
mentioned having been produced in Paris. Cui is well 
known for his able literary articles and contributions to 
the Russian journals and magazines. Rimsky-Kor- 
sakov (1844-1908) wrote several works, among them 
"Pskovitjanka" and "A May Night." 

The name of Tchaikovsky (1840-93) is well enough 
known in the concert-rooms of the world.' Of all 
Russian composers his is the name to conjure with, 
and although one cannot pass unrestrictedly favorable 
criticism upon all that he composed, wc undoubtedly 
owe to him a very great deal that is surpassingly rich, 
beautiful, and likely to endure. His genius, however, 
did not shine at its brightest in the theater, and al- 
though, like the Bohemian Dvoi^ak, he was attracted 
again and again to the stage, his work for it has not 
met with such universal success as that done in other 
spheres. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 25 

Besides his "Eugen Onegin," which we give, several 
more fine works proceeded from his fertile pen, some 
of them still very popular in their own country. The 
chief are "The Oprichnik," "Joan of Arc," "Mazeppa," 
and "The Enchantress." Tchaikovsky attempted many 
styles, but his individuality was always apparent, some- 
times with good results and sometimes not. When the 
subject of the opera was in accordance with the gen- 
eral trend of his thought, the result was felicitous, but 
he holds a lower place as a writer of opera than as a 
creator of symphony, song, and tone-poem. 

The sister country of Poland has at present made 
little claim to achievement in the opera house: the 
national dances, the polonaise, valse, mazurka, etc., 
have been utilized by Glinka very effectively, but the 
only record of Polish opera to hand is the work of the 
great pianist Paderewski, whose "Manru" is included 
in our selection. Its music is described as German 
rather than Polish, and it is not likely to found a new 
school of composition. 

Of more interest is the national opera of Bohemia, 
with its headquarters at Prague. Among its compos- 
ers we find the names of Tomaschek (1774-1850), 
Napravnik (bom 1839), and Fibich (1850-1900). 
More important than these is Smetana (1824-84), 
who settled in Prague in 1866, at a time when national 
freedom of thought and language was gaining position 
in Bohemia. Smetana took advantage of the enthu- 
siasm with which everything national was greeted, and 
by his incorporation of the folk-songs of the people 
into his operas, introduced to his country a new form 
of opera which at once took root and flourished there. 
The melodies he chose were dear to the hearts of the 



26 THE OPERA 

people ; moreover, they were simply and yet effectively 
treated, with due knowledge of and consideration for 
stage effect; consequently Smetana's operas are in 
Bohemia looked upon as the realization of a national 
ideal. 

His pupil and follower, Dvorak (1841-1904), whose 
name as a composer of S3rmphonies and chamber music 
is an exalted one, also wrote much for the stage; in- 
deed, just before his death a new opera by him, "Ar- 
mida," was produced in Prague. But his success, al- 
though so great and well deserved in other fields, is not 
comparable with that of Smetana, nor has he ever in 
the same way touched the hearts of the people. Other 
works by him are "King and Collier," "Wanda," "Der 
Bauer ein Schelm," "Demetrius," and "Rusalka." 
There is a promising young group of composers work- 
ing at Prague, of whose doings we may some day hear 
more than at present. 

Here we may glance at the conditions that govern 
opera in some of the other European countries, which 
give evidence of a certain amount of activity ; this has, 
in the main, confined itself up to the present within its 
own borders. The Scandinavian composers, such as 
Gade, Grieg, Sinding, etc., whose names are world- 
known in other fields, have nothing to show us in re- 
spect of opera. The opera houses of Christiania and 
Copenhagen are active and busy, but they produce 
little indigenous opera, nor does the fame of that little 
travel very far. The Spaniards and Portuguese also 
have no claim to distinction as composers of opera, the 
name of Arrieta, we take it, being little known, al- 
though he is the most famous of Spanish musicians 
so far as dramatic writing is concerned. 



III. OPERA TO-DAY IN ITALY, GERMANY, 

AND FRANCE 

Boito— His Interesting Personality — Mascagni — Leoncavallo- 
Puccini — Cilea — German Composers— Goldmark and Hum- 
perdinck — Richard Strauss — The French School — Saint- 
Saens — Massenet — Bruneau — Debussy. 

npO-DAY the art of operatic composition appears to 
^ be returning for its best results to its much-loved 
home, Italy; the young Italian composers, among all 
its devotees of all nationalities, appear to be putting 
forth the strongest work. Contemporary English, 
French, and German operas, with a few notable excep- 
tions, are rarely heard beyond the borders of the land 
which gives them birth, but the works of Mascagni, 
Puccini, and Leoncavallo find a home in every opera 
house. 

At the outset of our review of living Italian opera 
composers we meet the strange figure of Arrigo Boito 
(born 1842), more famous for one opera than are 
many composers who have endowed the world with 
dozens of such works. The charm of his personality 
has aided its success, while the ill fortune which 
dogged its birth and its intimate relationship to a great 
home have also contributed to its world-wide fame. 

Not that Boito's "Mefistofele" is a work in the reper* 
toire of every opera house; rather, its performances 
seem to be limited in number, and yet all the world 
knows of its composer as the capable litterateur and 

27 



28 THE OPERA 

musician who, amidst intense excitement, brought his 
"Mefistofele*' before the Milanese public at La Scala 
in 1868, and by the novelty of its form and musical 
treatment so displeased a very large number of his 
would-be admirers that he fell from the height of 
popularity to which expectation had elevated him al- 
most to the depth of extinction so far as his musical 
efforts were concerned. "Mefistofele" has been re- 
written; it was a work in advance of its time, and 
honor must be given to Boito for the artistic beauty 
of his conceptions, and for his courage and skill in the 
wielding of them to the ultimate conviction of an un- 
willing public. This fascinating but tantalizing com- 
poser still stimulates interest by the fact that he keeps 
two other and newer operas, "Nerone" and "Oresti- 
ade," in his desk, and refuses, at any rate for the pres- 
ent, to bring them to the light. 

We now come to a composer whose music, or part of 
it, at any rate, must have been heard by everybody — 
Pietro Mascagni (born 1863), whose most famous 
opera, "Cavalleria Rusticana," is one of the most pop- 
ular modem works in the operatic repertoire. It was 
produced in 1890, and soon attained to fame; this was 
due, to some extent, to the introduction of a new de- 
vice — namely, the performance of an orchestral inter- 
mezzo dividing the work into two parts, the curtain re- 
maining up and disclosing an empty stage (a street 
scene). Possibly the original intention in leaving the 
curtain up was to prevent the buzz of conversation 
which always accompanies its fall, and precludes the 
possibility of careful attention to the music; but in 
this instance the music is so melodious, tuneful, and 
cleverly scored that it assured the success of the opera. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 29 

Succeeding works from the same pen — ^'T'Amico 
Fritz," "I Rantzau," "Guglielmo Ratcliff," "Iris," and 
others — have not yet found equal success. 

Very frequently coupled upon the same playbill with 
Mascagni's "Cavalleria" is the short modem Italian 
opera "I Pagliacci" (The Strolling Players), the work 
of Leoncavallo (born 1858), and written upon much 
the same general lines as its forerunner. Its prologue, 
for a solo barytone, is popular in concert-halls. In the 
opera it occurs as part of the overture, the singer push- 
ing his way through the curtain, and retiring again 
after his performance, before the stage scene is actually 
disclosed. Leoncavallo has written many other works, 
but his chief distinction of later date has been that upon 
him fell the choice of the German Emperor to write a 
typically German opera on the subject of "Roland of 
Berlin." The- work was produced in Berlin in 1905, 
but without giving full satisfaction, the general opinion 
being that a German composer should have been 
chosen to clothe so essentially national a subject with 
music, and that Leoncavallo's attempt was uninspired, 
grandiose, and lacking in the elements of beauty. 

Other followers of Mascagni are Giordano (born 
1867), composer of "Andrea Chenier"; Spinelli 
(bom 1865), chiefly known by "A Basso Porto"; 
and Franchetti (born 1850). More famous than 
these is Francesco Cilea, a young composer of 
promise, whose "Adriana Lecouvreur" contains 
music of great beauty and charm. The method of 
Mascagni is closely followed, even to the introduction 
of a tuneful and charmingly scored intermezzo, but 
there is independence of melodic phrase and real grip 
in the music. "Adriana" was originally produced at 



30 THE OPERA 

Milan in 1902, and was staged at Covent Garden, 
London, during the autumn visit of the San Carlo 
company, two years later. 

Undoubtedly the greatest of the modem Italian 
composers is Giacomo Puccini (bom 1858), who has 
made himself famous not merely by one opera but 
by several. His earlier works, "Manon Lescaut," etc., 
hardly represent him at his best, although they con- 
tain much fine music; but in "La Boheme," in "La 
Tosca," and most of all in "Madame Butterfly," this 
clever musician has found himself and has risen to 
great heights. He is most happy in the way in 
which his music paints the situation to be depicted, 
and he has a most wonderfully ready power of 
melody. The continuous use of distinctive and 
rhythmic melody and the absence of any definite 
characterization by means of the Leitmotiv diflferen- 
tiates his work very largely from that of the Wagner 
school — it is altogether on a lighter basis, but the 
melody has an irresistible attractiveness, which ac- 
counts largely for the favor which his operas are 
finding at the present day. 

Puccini's latest work, "The Girl of the Golden 
West," deals with an American subject. It was pro- 
duced at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 
during the season of 1910-11. 

Germany to-day can hardly be held to have pro- 
duced such an array of familiar names, but that 
of Humperdinck (born 1854) has become famous 
through his setting of the delightful fairy tale 
"Hansel und Gretel." There is, however, still living 
a senior to Humperdinck in the person of Goldmark 
(born 1830), whose "Cricket on the Hearth" is well 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 31 

known. Goldmark became famous by his opera 
"The Queen of Sheba/' produced in Vienna in 1875. 
He has penned much music, and other operas, but the 
two above named are his best-known contributions 
to operatic literature. 

More interesting, because his fairy opera has been 
seen by almost every one, is Humperdinck, who has 
skillfully applied Wagnerian methods to opera on a 
comparatively light subject. The story of "Hansel 
und Gretel," from Hans Andersen, is worked up into 
a charming^ plot, and if some of the incidents seem, 
upon the modem stage, somewhat trivial and childish, 
the music is so perfect in form and matter that the 
ear is delighted throughout. The use of folk-songs 
and simple melodies which appeal to all is supple- 
mented by a wonderfully capable and polyphonic use 
of the orchestra, which shows the master hand in 
every bar of the score. 

"Hansel und Gretel" can be appreciated alike by 
the smallest child and by the skilled musician, and 
therein lies its great charm, for much study must 
usually precede appreciation of work so elaborate 
and complex. Humperdinck's succeeding works, 
several in number, have not risen to the same level, 
either of beauty or of popularity. His "Die Heirat 
wider Willen" was produced with a fair measure of 
success under Strauss at Berlin in April, 1905. 

Richard Strauss, the well-known composer of or- 
chestral tone-poems, has made several bids for fame 
in opera: his early works, such as "Guntram*' and 
"Feuersnot," have not attracted so much attention as 
have "Salome," produced at Dresden in 1906, and the 
"Elektra" staged in 1909. Strauss, the most con- 



32 THE OPERA 

spicuous of recent musical innovators, writes very 
boldly, often with a startling lack of blend between 
orchestra and voice. 

Other living composers of German opera are Max 
Schillings (bom 1868); Weingartner (born 1863), 
the great orchestral conductor; Siegfried Wagner 
(born 1869), son of the great master; Nessler (bom 
1841), composer of "Der Trompeter von Sakkingen*' 
(a wonderfully popular work, which, however, is not 
of the first rank) ; and many others whose fame may 
or may not be enduring. Modem German opera 
since Wagner has hardly, with the exception of 
"Hansel und Gretel," the distinction, power, and 
originality which we find in the followers of the 
young Italian school. 

More famous are the men of the French school, 
the natural followers of Gounod, Ambroise Thomas, 
and their fellows. Progress is noticeable from the 
type of music which prevails in "Faust," in the works 
of such composers as Saint-Saens, Massenet, and 
Bruneau, and the influence of Wagner is quite ap- 
parent. But in French opera the traditions which 
belonged to the Academie of old, and which have 
descended to the more modern grand opera, com- 
bine with a certain Gallic grace and charm to pre- 
serve individuality to this school. 

Foremost among French composers in every branch 
is that versatile and gifted man Saint-Saens (born 
1835). Like Boito, he possesses an interesting per- 
sonality, prominent among his characteristics being a 
habit of suddenly disappearing for months together 
from the eyes of a world of which he has grown 
temporarily weary. He will then come back from 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 33 

some half-civilized or totally barbarous district of 
Africa or elsewhere, bearing with him piles of 
manuscript, which soon finds a ready publisher. The 
music so composed often bears some impress of the 
surroundings amid which it has been penned, which 
adds in no small degree to its acceptance by the pub- 
lic. Saint-Saens has written many operas both for 
the grand and the comique stage without any very 
marked success. The work best known here is 
"Samson et Dalila," a dramatized version of the 
Bible story. His "Henry VIII" is perhaps the best 
known of his other works, which include "Proser- 
pine," "Ascanio," "Phryne," "Les Barbares," and 
"L'Ancetre." 

Jules Massenet (born 1842) is the author of many 
operas, of which mention may be made of "Don 
Cesar de Bazan," "Le roi de Lahore," "Herodiade," 
"Manon," "Le Cid," "Esclarmonde," "Werther," 
"Thais," "La Navarraise," and "Le Jongleur de 
Notre-Dame." "Herodiade" is really a dramatic ver- 
sion of the Bible story of St. John and Salome. It 
is perhaps the best of the Massenet operas, "Manon" 
and "La Navarraise" approaching it nearest in popu- 
lar esteem. Massenet has had much success with "Le 
Jongleur de Notre-Dame," produced at Monte Carlo 
in 1902. 

A most earnest and serious-minded composer, who 
more closely follows Gluck and Wagner in his desire 
for operatic truth, is Alfred Bruneau (bom 1857), 
one of the finest of French musicians. From the first 
his style has been revolutionary, and owing to crudi- 
ties somewhat hard lo accept; but while sometimes 
musically deficient, his dramatic grip and sincerity 



34 THE OPERA 

of purpose are so strong that there is doubtless a 
future before his operas. "Le reve," "L'attaque du 
moulin," "Messidor," and "L'Ouragan" are the titles 
of his chief works, the third named of these being 
perhaps the best. Bruneau was fortunate in secur- 
ing the services of Zola as his librettist, several prose- 
poems by the great novelist having been intrusted to 
his care. 

Andre Messager (bom 1853) has chiefly dis- 
tinguished himself by a charming light work, "La 
Basoche,'' which has had much attention at English 
hands. Dubois, Paladihle, and others are still at 
work in the field of French opera, but perhaps its 
most prominent modern representative is Gustave 
Charpentier (bom i860), whose opera "Louise" has 
made a great hit, and shows possession of great gifts 
from which much more may be expected. Vincent 
dlndy (bom 1851), another of the younger school, 
is the composer of a fairly successful work, "Fervaal." 

Claude Debussy (born 1862), a composer who has 
written an amount of successful music of a unique 
kind, in that it employs mostly a scale of whole tones, 
rather than one of tones and semitones, produced in 
1902 "Pelleas et Melisande," based on Maeterlinck's 
drama of the same name. This original and distinc- 
tive work has become widely popular. 



IV. THE CHIEF OPERA HOUSES OF THE 

WORLD 

Covent Garden — La Scala — San Carlo— Venice — Rome — Paris 
and the Grand Opera — Vienna — Budapest — Prague — Ber- 
lin — Dresden — Munich — Bayreuth — ^Russia — Other Euro- 
pean Countries — Egypt — ^America. 

A RCHITECTURALLY speaking, Covent Garden 
'*^*' Theater, the leading English opera house, is 
not one of the sights of London. Hidden away 
somewhat ignominiously in a side street, it has little 
appearance, in spite of its size, and by no means forms 
so« conspicuous a feature in the way of puTjlic building 
as do the majority of the houses in European capitals. 
Covent Garden Theater is situated on Bow Street, 
where the first building was opened in 1732. Sev- 
eral structures on the site were destroyed by fire. The 
present building was opened in 1858. Many musi- 
cal productions, including operas, had been given 
earlier at Covent Garden, but it was not till 1846 that 
the theater was converted specially into an opera 
house. Here Mario, Grisi, Alboni, Tamburini, and 
many other renowned artists have sung. At Covent 
Garden Adelina Patti made her first appearance be- 
fore a European audience. English as well as 
foreign opera has at times flourished at this famous 
house. Under the management of the Royal Opera 
Syndicate it still maintains its rank as one of the 

35 



36 THE OPERA 

world's great musical houses — ^this in spite of the fact 
that it is "nothing but an ordinary theater," and is not, 
like the opera houses of the Continent, practically 
sacred to the performance of opera. At Covent 
Garden, besides opera are given musical festivals, 
promenade concerts, fancy dress balls, etc. Only at 
certain seasons of the year is the theater exclusively 
devoted to opera. The Royal Opera Syndicate runs 
a season of grand opera from the end of April to the 
end of July, performances being given nightly. 

Turning to the opera houses of the European con- 
tinent, we at once think of the famous La Scala 
theater at Milan. This house has a seating capacity 
for 3600 persons. Apart from its size, there is the 
musical and artistic interest which this house derives 
from the production of many works here for the first 
time. Since its opening date, August 3, 1778, hun- 
dreds of operas have been staged, and the triumphs 
of Rossini, Meyerbeer, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi 
have been witnessed. It is .enough to state that such 
works as Rossini's "La Gazza ladra," Bellini's 
"Noma," Donizetti's "Lucrezia Borgia," Verdi's 
"I Lombardi," Boito's "Mefistofele." and Ponchielli's 
"La Gioconda" first saw the light of day in La 
Scala to establish for it a claim to notice on the part 
of operagoers. Some time ago the municipal grant 
toward the expenses of the establishment was close 
upon $50,000, but since 1902 the annual subsidy has 
been reduced. 

Even older than La Scala, as it dates originally 
from 1737, is its Neapolitan rival San Carlo. The 
new house, built after a fire in 1816, is of great size, 
and at one time vied with La Scala in the importance 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 37 

of new works produced; but less financial support 
has been forthcoming from Naples than is the case at 
Milan, and although an annual grant of some $16,000 
is given by the municipality, the San Carlo pro- 
ductions, while of very high rank, are perhaps hardly 
on a level with those at La Scala. But San Carlo has 
had its triumphs, and has seen the first production 
of Rossini's "Mose in Egitto," "Zelmira," and other 
works, and of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," 
besides numbers of other operas of less fame. 

Although Venice looms large in the history of 
music, and its doings in opera have been very con- 
siderable, there appears to be no theater solely de- 
voted to this class of work, nor is there any regular 
grant. The Fenice Theater has figured largely in 
Venetian operatic history. It is interesting to 
remember that Rossini's "Semiramide" and *Tan- 
credi" were both first performed at that house. 

Rome in older days had pride of place among 
opera houses, and Hadow speaks of it as being at one 
time the highest school in which a musician could 
graduate. Here was produced Rossini's "II Barbiere" 
and many another famous work. To-day opera at 
Rome, if indeed it is on an equal level, hardly seems 
to be of higher importance than that in other Italian 
cities. It has no subsidy at the present time, and has 
to depend on its own resources for its maintenance. 

The French opera house is one of the most impos- 
ing sights of Paris ; well situated and finely conceived, 
it is a worthy home for that art product for which it is 
intended. The history of French opera from the 
earliest recorded performances of the sixteenth cen- 
tury is, of course, very extensive. As long ago as 



38 THE OPERA 

1672 the name of LuUi made Parisian opera famous, 
and although for a time its home was transferred to 
the Palais Royal, the site has borne testimony to many 
a fine building, the present one, inscribed Academie 
Nationale de Musique, dating from 1874 (commenced 
in 1861). Although its seating capacity of 2156 is 
much less than that of La Scala, it is the largest 
house in the world, and covers almost three acres of 
ground. 

Besides LuUi, the names of Rameau, Gluck, 
Cherubini, Spontini, Herold, Auber, Meyerbeer, and 
Berlioz are all indissolubly connected with the opera 
of Paris. There is no house in all musical history 
that can claim so great a measure of variety and in- 
cident, nor make such interesting reading, as that 
of the Academie de Musique. Its fortunes have 
fluctuated, but it has done wonderful work, and a 
mere recapitulation of names of fine operas which 
had their original production here would be far too 
long for quotation. The glory' of Parisian grand 
opera has always held a spell over the nations, and 
has been a thing apart from all else in music. We 
know something of the hold of the Academie upon 
Wagner, and if there is to-day somewhat less of a 
glamour cast by it than in the days when LuUi held 
despotic sway, or Spontini or Meyerbeer dominated 
all, there is still a charm and delight to be found 
within its walls, which are difficult to equal in houses 
where the traditional uses are less sacredly adhered 
to. 

The French are very jealous of its traditions, and 
although modern times have not allowed the directors 
to fall behind in their eflforts to keep pace with the 



40 THE OPERA 

house witnessed their production, for the building 
which to-day stands as an abode of opera dates from 
a more recent time; the cost of its erection was 
more than $2,500,000. Belonging to the state, its 
affairs are administered by the Lord Chamberlain's 
department, any deficit being made good from the 
Emperor's civil list. 

The Royal Opera House at Budapest, Hungary, 
receives from the state a large subsidy, a specific sum 
for salaries, and a liberal grant from the Emperor. 

Reference must also be made to Prague, famous 
for the production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in 
1787. More recently Prague has been the home of 
works of the Bohemian school, as exemplified by 
Smetana, Dvorak, Fibich, and others. Shietana's 
"Bartered Bride" was staged at Prague in 1866, and 
from that date to the time of the appearance of 
Dvorak's "Armida," in 1904, the National Theater 
has witnessed a constant succession of works of a 
characteristically national tone which make an unfail- 
ing appeal to the Czechs. The Czech theater has a 
state grant. 

The Berlin Opera House also has claims to notice, 
for was not Weber's "Der Freischiitz" mounted here 
for the first time? Moreover, Berlin being the 
capital of Germany, the house is the scene of many 
fine state performances much patronized by royalty. 
The building itself, although standing well in the fine 
"Linden" promenade, will not compare with Paris or 
Vienna from an architectural point of view. The 
Opera House and Playhouse of Berlin together 
receive annually $270,000 toward their working 
expenses. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 41 

Leipzig and Dresden have fine theaters. The 
Dresden Court Theater, used as an opera house, is 
specially famous for its associations with Weber and 
Wagner. It is a fine building, magnificently situated 
in an imposing position, and having considerable 
architectural pretensions. The King of Saxony pays 
about $155,000 for the opera, theater, and orchestra, 
and also makes good any deficit that arises. At this 
theater Richard Strauss has produced his "Salome" 
and "Elektra." 

Munich has of late come to the front in operatic 
matters; the Court Theater, administered from the 
civil list, has long devoted much attention to opera, 
but interest is now centered somewhat on the new 
Prince Rjgent Theater, where an attempt is being 
made to outvie Bayreuth itself in the Wagner pro- 
ductions. Nor have the performances been confined 
to Wagner, for Mozart's operas have been inter- 
spersed with his. It is as yet too early to say what 
influence, if any, the new Munich house will have on 
the fortunes of Bayreuth, but it seems probable that 
a theater even better fitted up than Bayreuth itself 
for Wagnerian performances, and in a locality so much 
more central and easily reached, may in the near future 
materially aflfect the fortunes of the older house. 

Almost every German town of any size has its 
opera house, and detailed description of all is mani- 
festly impossible, notwithstanding that much interest 
attaches to some of them. We must therefore con- 
clude our account of the German theaters with a 
short description of that built by Wagner at Bayreuth 
according to his own ideas of what such a house 
should be. 



43 TliE OPERA 

• 

There is little doiibC that at the present tiine the 
Bayreuth Opera House is the most famous in the 
world. Worship of Wagner is still widespread, the 
halo surrounding his name and his home casts a glow 
upon the little town which he selected as the scene 
of his final labors, and from all parts of the world, 
when the Bayreuth theater opens its doors, pilgrim- 
ages are made and devotees flock with an intense 
enthusiasm which has |io parallel. To the true 
Wagnerian, Bayreuth is a sacred spot inspiring a 
reverence quite distinct from that felt for any other. 

It was in May, 1872, that the foundation-stone was 
laid, and the completion of the building, delayed by 
lack of funds, took place in 1876, when "The Ring" 
was performed. Since then performances have taken 
place on a grand scale at intervals of a year or two 
years in the summer. A feature in the construction 
was that an equally good view should be obtained 
from every point of view. This was done by raising 
every seat a little above the one immediately in front 
of it, and by putting each spectator where he could 
see between the heads of the two persons before him. 
Another feature was the submerged orchestra — i.e., 
below the level of the floor of the house. Even the 
conductor, although he has the stage in view, cannot 
be seen by the audience, and part of the orchestra 
(the brass) is actually under the stage — ^an experi- 
ment which seemed doubtful at first, but which has 
on the whole proved successful. The machinery and 
scenery were as good as could possibly be obtained, 
and the management still keeps up to date in this 
respect. Although open to competition both from 
New York and from Munich, Bayreuth seems likely 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 43 

to hold its own for some years to come, whenever it 
may choose to open its doors. 

In Russia, and more especially at St. Petersburg 
and Moscow, theatrical attendance is looked upon as 
an educational matter, and therefore it is possible to 
see opera for a very small sum. Of course this means 
large imperial help. The two cities have fine houses, 
with interest for us in that they have witnessed the 
production of most of the operas of the young 
Russian school. The ballet is much beloved in 
Russia, and forms one of the regular objects of 
representation. 

Space forbids us to go into detail as to the opera 
houses of Sweden (Royal Theater of Stockholm), 
Norway (National Theater, Christiania), Spain, Hol- 
land, Belgium (Brussels, Theatre de la Monnaie), 
Denmark (Copenhagen, Royal Theater), or Portugal. 
San Carlos, at Lisbon, is, however, of special interest 
in being one of the oldest houses of its kind, having 
been erected in 1793. 

Egypt has opera houses at Cairo and Alexandria. 
That at Cairo saw the production of Verdi's "Aida" 
in 1871. 

In New York, the Metropolitan opera house wit- 
nesses magnificent performances, and commands the 
best and most expensive talent in the world. It was 
opened October 22, 1883. Its stage is one of the 
largest in the country and the house has a seating 
capacity of 3700. That of the Manhattan, now given 
up to lighter productions, is 3000. (For many 
particulars relating to the opera houses in New York 
and other cities of the United States the reader is 
referred to "Music in America," Chapter II.) 



44 THE OPERA 

A few words should be added here concerning the 
Boston Opera House, in some respects the finest in 
America. It was inaugurated under the brightest 
auspices for art in the musical city which it adorns. 
It was brilliantly opened on November 8, 1909, with 
a performance of Ponchielli's "La Gioconda." The 
house has a seating capacity of 2750, and all its 
appointments are admirably suited to their purposes. 
The stage has been said by experts to have no equal 
in this country. It is 90 feet high, 70 feet deep, and 
150 feet wide. It is divided into numerous platforms 
which can be raised or lowered by ingenious machin- 
ery to suit the requirements of any performance. 



V. OFFSHOOTS AND CURIOSITIES OF 

OPERA 

Operetta — Musical Comedy — Ballad Opera — Masque — Ballet — 
Objections Thereto^Curiosities of Construction — Pastic- 
cio^Mixed Language — Stereotyped Casts — Curiosities of 
Stage Requirements — Wagner's Supernatural Require- 
ments — Curiosities of the Music — Vocal Cadenzas. 

T^HE chief offshoot of opera proper is opera co- 
mique, or Singspiel — opera interspersed with 
spoken dialogue, not necessarily of a humorous 
nature. The mere fact, however, of the introduction 
of such dialogue confers on the work the title of opera 
comique in France and that of Singspiel in Germany. 
When one remembers that such works as Beethoven's 
"Fidelio" and Weber's "Der Freischutz" belong to 
this type, it is evidently of great importance, and 
a very large number of operas by a variety of com- 
posers come under this heading. 

Next, perhaps, in interest is the operetta, or short 
opera, originally a one-act light opera frequently 
employing spoken dialogue; the general style, more- 
over, is lighter and of less imposing proportions than 
serious opera. In later days, operettas are often 
prolonged into two or more acts and have been made 
very familiar by the long series of works by Gilbert 
and Sullivan, which, properly speaking, belong to 
this category. 

45 



46 THE OPERA 

Of a somewhat lower grade is musical comedy, a 
popular type of stage piece making considerable use 
of music, but of only the less exalted forms of the 
art. No serious pretensions to artistic beauty are 
claimed by these works, the taste for which seems to 
be, at the present time, somewhat on the wane. 

A form of opera for which the Enghsh have always 
had an affection is the ballad opera, really a string of 
airs, often by different composers, thrown more or 
less promiscuously into a story, with which they often 
appear to have no very close connection. There is 
practically no concerted music, and the whole bears 
some resemblance to a baHad concert. The renowned 
"Beggar's Opera," which for years was a model for 
English entrepreneurs, belonged to this category, and 
set an example for hosts of imitators to follow. 
Indeed, England is only now beginning to shake her- 
self free from the trammels of this class of work, to 
which such operas sts "The Bohemian Girl" and 
"Maritana" tend to approximate. The ballad opera 
also took root in America, where hundreds of such 
works flourished for a time, and it is not unknown in 
Germany, where it is called Liederspiel. 

Of more artistic merit and interest is the masque, 
which really preceded opera. Originally developing 
in carnival processions through the streets of Italian 
towns, it was adopted in England during the reigns 
of Henry VIII and some succeeding monarchs. The 
plan of such works was the presentation of some 
allegorical idea upon a stage, with descriptive music, 
both vocal and instrumental, and a large proportion 
of dancing. Campion, Lock, Coperario, and many 
others took part in the composition of these divertisse- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 47 

tnents, which were in great demand for such functions 
as royal weddings. They were staged in the most 
sumptuous manner, great attention being paid to 
stage machinery, costume, etc. Much of the music 
has been lost, but what remains shows it to have been 
excellent of its class, and it is effective even in per- 
formance to-day. 

In early days of operatic history there was no 
radical difference between the masque and the ballet. 
An entertainment of vocal and instrumental music 
in celebration of the marriage of the Duke of Joyeuse 
in 1581 (costing three and a half million francs to 
produce) was termed "Ballet comique de la Royne." 
As an illustration of the dance alone, which is its 
present signification, the ballet appears to date from 
the foundation of the opera in France, with which 
it has had a very close and lasting connection. 

Indeed, until recently grand opera without a ballet 
was unknown. Beginning with Lulli, and continuing 
even up to the present day, the ballet has maintained 
a position of great importance; and although it has 
never appealed to other peoples to the same extent 
as it appears to have done to Continental nations, it 
has been transported with the works in which it was 
introduced and has become a familiar feature to 
operagoers everywhere. 

The great disadvantage of the ballet is that it breaks 
up the continuity of the story ; the development of the 
interest of the opera is arrested, and so far as the 
music is concerned a complete difference in style is 
often necessary, the result being that the old train 
of thought and idea is often only to be resumed with 
difficulty. Hence it happens that, with a growing 



48 THE OPERA 

appreciation for artistic truth in opera, the ballet has 
fallen into the background, and most operas seen to- 
day do not include any performance of what is, 
at best, a somewhat irrelevant interlude. A few 
attempts, such as that by Wagner in "Tannhauser," 
to introduce a ballet as an integral factor in the 
denouement, have not been specially successful, nor 
have they been widely imitated. As a separate form 
of entertainment, apart from opera, the ballet has 
had excellent music written for it by Adam, Sullivan, 
Tchaikovsky, and others (in Russia it is a very 
popular amusement) ; but in England its appearances 
are now mainly confined to the music hall, where it 
is wedded to music of a light and charming character. 
In our own country the ballet, at its best, is generally 
enjoyed along with other features of the opera in 
which it occurs. 

A few words as to curiosities of opera. These 
may be grouped somewhat as follows : ( i ) Curiosities 
of construction and design; (2) curiosities of stage 
requirements; (3) curiosities of the music. 

The old manner of collecting a mass of heterogene- 
ous materials in the way of airs and songs, and of 
turning them into a kind of opera, is certainly curious. 
The name pasticcio, or pie, is very applicable to this 
hybrid growth, which, however, has at times attained 
to great popularity. One of the most famous in- 
stances of its kind is "Muzio Scevola," produced in 
^77^' This work was in three acts: the first com- 
posed by Ariosti, the second by Bononcmi, and the 
third by Handel. The last-named great composer, 
with an easy manner of doing things which would 
certamly not pass muster at the present day, also 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 49 

biought out in 1738 an opera almost entirely made 
up of favorite airs from his other works ; an example 
which Gluck followed a few years later. The day 
for this kind of thing is fortunately past, and no com- 
poser of serious operatic work would revert to a 
procedure which is more suggestive of the construc- 
tion of a pantomime. 

The singing* by different performers in different 
languages at the same time is another defunct custom. 
So little regard was paid to the importance of the 
libretto that it used to be quite a common occurrence 
for each person on the stage to sing in whatever 
language came easiest. On the Continent the airs 
would perhaps be sung in Italian and the recitatives 
in German, with an inconsistency that is almost in- 
credible. When, however, agility in vocalization was 
the chief attraction in operatic representation, it is to 
be presumed that intelligibility of utterance was not 
an important consideration. 

To the same cause must be attributed the ex- 
traordinary fact that the dramatis personae were the 
same for nearly all operas during a certain period. 
Whatever the story or plot to be unfolded, it was 
essential that there 'should be six principal characters 
— 2L high soprano, a mezzo, and a contralto, a male 
soprano, a tenor, and a bass. Of course slight modi- 
fications in the character of the voices was occasion- 
ally allowed, but the main lines followed were as 
above. And whether it suited the story or not, each 
singer expected to have an important air to sing in 
each act, and woe betide the unhappy composer who 
wrote a more attractive piece for one of them than 
was supplied to a rival singer ! From this stereotyped 



50 THE OPERA 

form of bondage, with all its artificiality, opera is now 
free; and it is due to the observance of these con- 
ventions that works of Handel and other composers, 
who wrote really good music, are absolutely dead. 

Apart from the construction in the form of the 
opera, there have been from time to time interesting 
experiments made with regard to the housing of that 
integral portion of it — the orchestra. Wagner's inno- 
vation, the placing of the band out of sight and below 
the stage, although it necessitated the increase of the 
string sections, has proved on the whole good. Other 
designs have been the entire covering in of the 
orchestra with a thin transparent substance, which 
has had the effect of subduing the sound, but which 
has also proved disastrously hot for the poor players. 
One idea emanated from the New York Metropolitan, 
when Conried suggested the placing of the brass 
players upon a movable platform, which could move 
up or down at will; if it is desired that their instru- 
ments shall sound prominently they will be raised into 
the air; if, on the other hand, a subdued effect is 
required, they will be lowered a few feet; a long 
crescendo will, presumably, be effected by a gradual 
elevation of this movable floor! One has yet to wait 
to see this invention adopted. 

In days when enormous groups of performers were 
considered indispensable for grand effects in opera, 
one reads of many extravagances in the way of dis- 
play. In modem scenic dramatic works, in the ballet, 
and in pantomime, these effects are no doubt legiti- 
mate enough; but inasmuch as the cumbering of the 
stage with voiceless supers hardly helps on the cause 
of opera, it is a matter for congratulation that these 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 51 

exceptional stage demands are no longer made to any 
great extent. 

Here, for instance, is the modest list of performers 
that took part in Freschi's "Berenice" in 1680: 

100 Virgins. 
100 Soldiers. 

100 Horsemen in iron armor. 
40 Comets on horseback. 
6 Mounted trumpeters. 
6 Drummers. 
6 Ensigns. 
6 Sackbuts. 
6 Flutes. 
12 Minstrels playing on Turkish instruments, etc 
6 Pages. 
3 Sergeants. 
6 Cymballers. 
13 Huntsmen. 
12 Grooms, 
12 Charioteers. 
2 Lions led by 2 Turks. 
2 Elephants. 
4 Horses with Berenice's triumphal car. 
12 Horses drawing 6 cars. 

6 Chariots. 
A stable with 100 living horses. 
A forest filled with wild boar, deer, and bears. 

However magnificent and imposing in effect such a 
spectacle may be, its proper sphere is not opera. With 
Meyerbeer, Spontini, and other composers of grand 
opera these ideas have found favor; but they are a 



52 THE OPERA 

bar to the production of their works to-day, not only 
on the score of very considerable expense, but also 
because the artistic sense that delights in beautiful 
music wedded to appropriate drama will hardly find 
pleasure in such merely sensuous effects of the eye. 

The difficulties of modem stage management occur 
chiefly in the presentation of the supernatural. Huge 
crowds are easy enough to put upon the stage, but to 
make a bird fly across naturally is a more involved 
matter. In many of the Wagner operas these super- 
natural features are essential elements of the situa- 
tion ; the Rhine maidens must appear to be swimming 
in real water, the bird must fly ahead of Siegfried to 
show him the rock on which Brunnhilde sleeps, and 
round that rock living flames of fire must dart and 
play. It is such points as these which are difficult 
to stage convincingly. Has any one ever felt much 
frightened at the dragon Fafner? The fire has a way 
of coming out of his mouth at the wrong time, his 
head and his tail seem to have little connection with 
one another, and the impressive effect of his deeply 
sonorous utterances is often marred by the very 
visible megaphone through which they are uttered. In 
these strange beasts, for which machinery is ineffec- 
tive, there is still scope for improvement in modern 
stage management. 

Curiosities in the music occur now and then : such, 
for instance, is the weird portion in the middle of 
Weber's "Euryanthe" overture, where the curtain rises 
momentarily to display a gruesome tomb: such is the 
thrusting aside of the stage curtain in the midst of 
Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" prelude for one of the 
characters to sing a song; such is the curious vocal 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 53 

scherzo upon one reiterated note, for the chorus of 
seraphim in Boito's "Mefistofele." 

On a bigger scale is the curious experiment made 
by Michael in the opera "Utal," in writing his work 
without any violins in the orchestra. Of more fre- 
quent occurrence than the omission of instruments is 
the inclusion of various unusual effects, such as the 
introduction of a mandolin for the serenade in 
Mozart's "Don Giovanni," of the Glockenspiel for 
Papageno in "The Magic Flute," of peal of bells in 
many works, and so forth, whereas Handel sighed 
for a cannon, and Tchaikovsky actually used one in 
his "1812" overture. The maximum of stage noise 
in this way was probably reached by Spontini, who 
in his opera "Alcidor" had a number of anvils upon 
the stage tuned to certain notes! An anvil accom- 
paniment, not ineffectively used, may be heard in 
Gounod's "Philemon et Baucis." 

Among curiosities of the music must be mentioned 
the vocal cadenzas, etc., written for exceptional 
singers; and in the days when these singers used to 
include male sopranos and contraltos (termed cast rati) 
the majority of singers appear to have been excep- 
tional. For a man to develop a high soprano voice 
seems not only unnatural but inartistic; and these 
singers, some of them most famous, belong to an 
order of things that obtains no longer, being contrary 
both to modern ethics and to good taste. What the 
male soprano could do can usually be done equally 
well by a good woman singer, and of these there is 
usually a sufficient supply. 

For women singers with voices of exceptional 
compass special music has often been written, as wit- 



54 




THE OPERA 



ness the part of "'Queen of the Night" in Mozart's 
"Zauberflote," much of which lies abnormally high. 
Even where not written, singers of Italian opera have 
often introduced elaborate and wonderful cadenzas 
for the purposes of display, and these, although not 
tolerated in opera of the most exalted kind,- may still 
be frequently heard. 

Nowadays little of this kind of music is written for 
the voice, so far as opera is concerned. The work 
required of the moflern operatic singer is more 
dramatic by nature, and makes demands upon 
technique of a different order. 



I 

4 



VI. POTPOURRI 

Opera and Politics — ^"Lohengrin" in Paris — Opera Non-lucra- 
tive to the Composer — ^Jenny Lind's Contract — Modem 
Fees — Royalties — Librettists — Metastasio and Scribe — The 
Prima Donna — Stories of Singers and Composers. 

XTOW and again it happens that opera rubs shoulders 
^ with politics, and acquires some importance in 
the affairs of nations. Lulli's power at court in the 
days of Louis XIV was notorious, and none too 
generously exercised so far as his fellow-musicians 
were concerned. But influence with monarchs, such as 
that which he acquired, is rarer now, and less powerful 
than in those earlier days. Lulli profited by the royal 
favor bestowed on him, but some great composers 
have been less fortunate. 

Cherubini, for instance, was detested by the great 
Napoleon, who lost no opportunity of inflicting slights 
upon him. Cherubini's sympathies were clearly mani- 
fested in his "Water Carrier" opera, as on the side of 
revolution, but distinctly contrary to the excesses to 
which it often led. So enraged were some ruffians 
with him that he was in 1794 dragged out of his house, 
marched through Paris, and finally compelled to pro- 
vide music for the pleasure of his captors. Napoleon 
frequently called him into his presence in order to 
praise other composers, suggesting that he compared 
unfavorably with them. When Cherubini replied 

55 




56 THE OPERA 



with some little spirit, he was promptly punished by 
being compelled to conduct various concerts md state 
performances with no reward whatever. 

Napoleon was sometiines given to indulging his 
sardonic humor at the expense of those who waited 
on his favors. It is related by one who knew him 
well that once at a social function be indulged his 
whim by pretending to humiliate the conqwser 
Gretry. Coming face to face with him several times. 
Napoleon repeatedly asked the musician, "And who 
are you?" At last, tired of identifying himself, he 
replied, "Sire, I am still Grftry." 

Napoleon, for a time, could not do enough for 
Spontini. He commanded the production of "La 
Vestale," and rewarded him with a present of 10,000 
francs, loading him, moreover, with praises and 
honors. This did not, however, last for very long, for 
the downfall of the great conqueror was at hand, and 
anxieties and cares claimed his attention. 

Political feeling has probably never run so high over 
operatic matters as it did in Paris after the Franco- 
German war. For years no German work was 
tolerated, at any rate so far as new matter was con- 
cerned, and the determination of the management to 
produce Wagner's "Lohengrin" in 1891 was the 
signal for a riotous uproar. Public feeling ran high ; 
some of the leading singers, considering discretion 
the better part of valor, caused frequent postpone- 
ments of the performance by means of convenient 
indispositions, and when the work actually came to 
presentation cordons of police were called out to 
guard the opera house, both inside and out. M. 
Lamoureux, who conducted, did so with a pistol in 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 57 

his pocket. Opposition inside the theater made itself 
felt by an objectionable device of setting floating in 
the auditorium little balloons of foul gas ; while oppo- 
sition in the street was met by cavalry charges and 
frequent arrests. The whole occasion was made one 
of political import, but fortunately common sense 
prevailed, and no serious issues resulted. Happily 
for opera, such scenes as these are infrequent and 
unusual. 

Opera is not a fortune-making business for the 
majority of those who embark on such enterprises. 
So far as the composition of opera is concerned, 
financial result is usually very small. Nowadays an 
opera cannot be lightly tossed off in a few days. It 
is true that Handel composed "Rinaldo" in fourteen 
days, Rossini "II Barbiere" in thirteen (a wonderful 
performance), and Pacini his "Saffo" in four weeks; 
but these are very exceptional instances, and may 
fitly be contrasted with the labor of Wagner, who 
had his "Meistersinger" and "The Ring" on hand for 
something like twenty years. Modern opera, with its 
polyphonic orchestral background and amorphous 
movements, demands years of work, and for the 
majority of those who give so much of their lives to 
it there is little to show in return from a pecuniary 
point of view. 

Operatic management, too, is very speculative; 
Handel lost his whole fortune and became bankrupt 
through his operatic ventures, and yet his works had 
enormous success in their day. The example set by 
him has been followed by many a subsequent manager, 
and is perhaps yet in store for many another. 

The chief item in expenditure is, of course, the 



58 THE OPERA 

enormous amount swallowed up in the fees paid 
the singers. Handel paid Senesino 1400 guineas 
the season in 1731, and even allowing for the greaie 
value of money in those days, that is a c<»i:q>aratively 
small amount. Here, for exaiiq>le, is the contract 
made by Jenny Und with Lumfey, the London 
manager, in 1846 (far less liberal> l^ the way, than 
such a singer would receive to-day) : 

"i. An honorarium of 120,000 francs (£4800) for 
the season (April I4tb-Aiigust soth, 1847). 

"2. A furnished house, carriage, and pair of horses. 

"3. A sum of ^300 should she desire to have a 
preliminary holiday in Italy. 

"4. Liberty to cancel the engagement should she 
feel dissatisfied after her first appearance. 

"5. An agreement not to sing elsewhere for her 
own emolument." 

(See Jenny Lind's vastly more remunerative deal- 
ings with P. T. Barnum, as related in the section on 
"Vocal Music and Musicians," Chapter X.) 

It generally happens that a singer commands higher 
fees for private than for public singing, the advantage 
of the latter being as a rule a guaranteed number of 
appearances. Farinelli, for example, the chief singer 
engaged by the noble faction that set up in opposition 
to Handel in 1734, received only ii500 per annum, 
but his private engagements made up his income to 
£5000 a year — a large one at that date. This singer 
afterward visited the court of Philip V of Spain ; that 
monarch was suffering from mental depression, from 
which nothing aroused him luitil the advent of Farinel- 
IL The Queen was so delighted to see her royal spouse 



id to ^M 
for ■ 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 59 

once more interested in anything that she engaged 
Farinelli at a salary of 50,000 francs to remain in 
Madrid. This he did, singing the same four songs to 
the King every night for ten years ! Eventually Philip 
V succumbed, but he must have been a patient mon- 
arch. 

It does not always happen that singers of equal merit 
receive the same payments, some being more fortunate 
than others. Catalani, for example, in 1807 received 
in London £5000 for the season, and with her concerts 
and provincial tours netted a profit for the year of 
£16,700. A more famous singer, Lablache, in 1828 
could only command ii6oo for four months; while 
Malibran in 1835 received £2755 for twenty-four ap- 
pearances in London, and 45,000 francs for one hun- 
dred and eighty-five performances a few years later at 
La Scala. 

But these fees are as nothing compared with those 
commanded by the leading singers of to-day, more 
especially in America, where money is "poured out like 
water," and where artists are sometimes retained at 
high fees by one opera house, even if they do not sing 
a single note during the whole season, so that a rival 
house shall not secure their services. It is not very 
unusual for a singer to receive $5000 per performance 
in the twentieth century. Madame Patti has stated 
that she received $6000 per night for two seasons of 
sixty nights each. Caruso has been paid $100,000 
for eighty performances, and about $40,000 per an- 
num for singing into gramophones; his contract for 
four years at $200,000 per annum with the New York 
Metropolitan is probably a record in this direction. 

Of course the amounts received by those who com- 



6o THE OPERA 

pose the music never approximate to such figures 
these. For "Don Giovanni" Mozart received only 500 
thalers, and tor "tlguo" 100 doctts. Wdwr's pay- 
ment for "Der Freiachots" wts 80 Friedrich d'ora, out 
of which he had to pay the Hbrettist ; after the treasury 
had netted 30,000 thaten from this work Weber was 
presented with 100! There are, however, a few exam- 
ples of fair bargains made by nmndans. Spontiru, in 
1814, was offered a salary, then Uberal, equal to $3750 
per annum for two operas eadi year in Berlin; in 
i8ig he accepted a ten years' engagement at the court 
of Frederick William III, Berlin, at a salary of 4000 
thalers, a benefit of 1050 thalers, a free concert, and a 
pension. He was well treated, but did not himself 
behave very well, allowing his servant to sell free ad- 
missions to the theater, and grumbling because his 
first-night presentations did not bring in as much as he 
wished. He finally ended by a demand for compensa- 
tion for 46,850 thalers, and that in face of the fact 
that he was convicted of lese-majesty and sentenced to 
nine months' imprisonment — an indignity from which 
his new monarch graciously released him. 

Sometimes an agreement is made with the composer 
by which he receives a royalty or lump sum for each 
performance of his work. To the composer of an 
opera that takes the public fancy this spells fortune, 
and vast sums have now and again been made in this 
way. Isonard, for example, received for the perform- 
ances of his "Cendrillon" in Paris alone over 100,000 
francs in i8ro, -while Rossini and others have by simi- 
lar strokes of Iitck easily acquired wealth. So small, 
however, is the proportion of new works to-day which 
become popular that the chances of such good fortune 



4 

500 ( 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 6i 

are very small; a "Cavalleria Rusticana" only makes 
its appearance now and then, nor is the composer of 
such a work often able to repeat his success. 

Although rarely recognized, the work of the author 
of the libretto is of vast importance. In the days when 
the story meant little or nothing, provided so many 
pegs were provided on which to hang the arias, the 
share of the librettist was a less conspicuous one; to- 
day no inconsiderable part of the failure of an opera 
is due to a poor libretto. It therefore frequently hap- 
pens that composers, finding it impossible to obtain a 
poem to please them, write their own libretti, the chief 
example of this dual work being Wagner, whose 
dramas are often very fine considered from a literary 
point of view alone. 

Most famous of the librettists of early operas is 
Metastasio (1698-1782), some of whose poems were 
set by thirty and forty different composers: he wrote 
dramas used by such composers as Handel, Hasse, 
Jomelli, Porpora, Graun, Gluck, Meyerbeer, Caldara, 
Haydn, Cimarosa, and Mozart. In later days mention 
may be made of the dramatist Scribe (1791-1861), a 
French poet who provided a vast number of works for 
various composers, including Auber, Adam, Boieldieu, 
Donizetti, Herold, Halevy, Meyerbeer, and Verdi. 
Quite one hundred of his operas were staged and per- 
formed, to say nothing of light dramatic and other 
pieces. 

Scattered here and there in literature that deals with 
opera may be found endless stories of singers, com- 
posers, and art-patrons. Most fruitful in providing 
amusing tales are the prime donne, whose jealousies 
and bickerings, although unpleasant enough for those 



62 THE OPERA 

who have to contend against them, make sufficiently 
good reading. The prima donna generally knows her 
power, and is autocratic. There is not found every 
day a Handel to take such a one forcibly by the scruff 
of her neck and hang her suspended from a window in 

mid-air until his will is obeyed. When such a fractious 
lady has a husband in the same cast consequences may 
be very bad indeed. The tenor Arsani, for example, 
the teacher of the Garcias, had a wife who was a 
prima donna ; but instead of acting together, so jealous 
were they of each other, that when one was receiving 
the plaudits of the audience the other would go round 
into the auditorium and hiss! 

Rivalry is not always, however, so apparent, and 
when fine singers are willing to cooperate, very great 
results are sometimes obtained. The most notable en- 
semble in this respect was probably that of the four 
great singers Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini, and Lablache, 
a combination of talent very seldom equaled, which 
delighted auditors of the early Victorian era. 

Nowadays, although a person of power, the great 
singer has not the field so entirely to himself as to be 
able to dictate regarding what he will or will not do. 
A certain tenor, for example, at Marseilles early in 
1905 withdrew his promise to sing at a certain con- 
cert for the reason that a rival tenor had been engaged. 
Great was his amazement to find that this refusal by no 
means jeopardized the concert, as he had hoped, but 
rather became an additional source of amusement ; for 
the management, having advertised him, determined 
that he should be seen upon the stage; so a ridiculous 
effigy of him was brought forward, and a trio from 
"Faust" was sung by other singers grouped round it. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 63 

This may not have been very dignified, or even witty, 
but a few drastic measures of this kind might induce 
singers to be a little more reasonable in their treat- 
ment of the public. 

Strange measures are sometimes taken to prevent 
the success of an opera. A hired body of fellows to 
hiss in opposition to the organized claque is by no 
means a rare sight in a French house; but sometimes 
more militant measures are taken. Rousseau's "Le 
devin du village," for example, received its coup de 
grace in 1828 from the fact that some person (sup- 
posed to have been Berlioz) threw a huge powdered 
wig on to the stage in the midst of the performance. 
So threatening was the opposition to Jomelli's 
"Armida," produced in 1750, that its composer fled 
the house for his life by a back door. The opposition 
to *' Lohengrin" in Paris has already been commented 
upon, but that to "Tannhauser,'* organized by the 
Jockey Club in 1866, was even stronger. Noise 
and disorder filled the theater; people in the pit 
played flageolets, while the gallery sang riotous songs. 
So prejudiced was public opinion that a fair hearing 
was not accorded to the work. Under these con- 
ditions it is not altogether incredible that Merimee 
should have exclaimed that he could write similar 
music after hearing his cat walk up and down the 
pianoforte ! 

Of composers, there are perhaps more amusing 
stories of Spontini than of any other single opera 
writer. This very opinionated and high-handed 
Italian thought much of himself, and little of all else, 
with the result that his life is very amusing reading. 
He would have what he wanted. If his cellos could 



64 THE OPERA 

not play loud enough, they were made to sing their 
parts as well; if, after six hours' rehearsal, his prima 
donna fainted, he suggested that some one with more 
physique should be engaged. He did not, however, 
always have his own way. When "La petite maison" 
was produced in 1804, the audience dashed on the 
stage and smashed everything, while "La Vestale" 
was greeted with laughing, snoring, and the putting 
on of nightcaps. His orchestra, although moderate in 
volume in comparison with what often obtains to-day, 
was considered very noisy, so much so that it is said 
that a certain doctor who had a very deaf patient 
thought he might be made to hear by attending a per- 
formance of "La Vestale." After a specially noisy 
passage the deaf man with delight turned to his 
doctor: "I can hear," said he. His remark met with 
no response, for the reason that the doctor himself 
had been deafened by the noise. 

Spontini felt such opposition very keenly; others 
are less affected by hostility. When Rossini's "II 
Barbiere" was produced at Rome in 181 6, it was 
hooted and hissed, much to the chagrin of several of 
the composer's friends. Thinking to commiserate 
with him on the failure of his work, they called at 
his house, expecting to find him in the depths of 
despair. Instead of that, the maestro was safely 
tucked up in bed and fast asleep! 

Stories of singer and composer might fill many 
chapters of such a work as this, but there are books 
such as Sutherland Edwards's "History of the Opera" 
and Ella's "Musical Reminiscences*' to which those 
interested may readily turn and find them; therefore 
such anecdotes need not be multiplied here. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 65 

A wealth of amusement may be derived from the 
daily papers, and in our time impresarios, in one 
country or another, often seem to be the most perse- 
cuted persons in the world. Opera has its worries 
and troubles, but to those who love it it is a constant 
source of refreshment and of artistic joy. 



VII. THE TASK OF THE PRIMA DONNA 

By Lillian Nordica 

Marring the Performance — Success and Failure — Stern Ne- 
cessities — Self-denials — A Day's Work — Stage and Dress- 
ing-room — The Prima Donna's Offering to Art. 

A BROKEN note ! It cannot be sung over again. 
'^^ The orchestra goes on. Another singer takes 
up the cue. The performance continues. You take 
up your role again at the proper moment. It is all 
so relentless! 

The broken note does not fall into a net like the 
acrobat who has missed his footing and has another 
trial. You cannot stop the performance and sing 
the unfortunate phrase over again. No — to that ex- 
tent you have marred the performance, and however 
well you may sing through the rest of the opera, that 
broken note will break again in every newspaper the 
next morning. 

Fortunately there are singers to whom this never 
has happened and never will happen so long as they 
conscientiously consider themselves able to fulfill 
their missions as artists. It is not only because the> 
have voice and method, but because they also possess 
the will-power to impose upon themselves the rigid 
regime which should govern the life of a singer. 

There are hundreds of beautiful voices. But why 
docs one see almost always the same names leading 

66 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 67 

the list of prima donnas at the great opera houses? 
It is not a fad. It is a necessity, because those singers 
— that handful — are the only ones who can stand 
the strain of a grand opera season in a house of large 
dimensions and give satisfaction to the public. 

Where are all the other lovely voices that promised 
so much? They have failed. Why? Because their 
owners were unwilHng to adapt themselves to the 
stern necessities that govern the life of a prima 
donna. It is a grand triumph to feel a great audience 
**rising" at you; but it is a triumph gained at the 
sacrifice of almost all the pleasures of life. I have 
questioned many of my distinguished colleagues. 
Always it is the same story — a story of continual 
sacrifice, not from the moment of the first success, 
nor even from the first step upon the stage, but from 
further back, from girlhood, from the period when 
the work of preparation began. The sacrifice of 
everything that interferes with her art and her career 
is what makes a "great" prima donna of the woman 
with the requisite voice and method. Even the 
athlete can learn a lesson in training from the prima 
donna, with this difference: the athlete can "break 
training," but the prima donna never can. 

I am naturally active. Yet in a season of fifteen 
weeks I have set foot upon the street for a short 
walk just once. The chief part of the time it was 
driving from my residence to the opera house for 
rehearsal or performance and back again to my 
residence for study or rest. 

Society? How fond I should be of it if I could 
enjoy its entertainments with a free mind! But the 
functions I feel I can attend during a season without 



68 THE OPERA 

fear that my so doing will interfere with my obliga- 
tions as an artist, you can count on fewer fingers than 
those of one hand. I had an opera box at my dis- 
posal. I doubt if I occupied it more than three or 
four times in fifteen weeks. If I had sung Tuesday 
night in Philadelphia and was obliged to sing Kundry 
on Thursday, do you think, much as I longed to see 
a performance, that I would jeopardize my task and 
run the risk of not doing my full duty toward my 
public by attending the opera on Wednesday? No. 
I would rest from the strain of Tuesday the better to 

I 

be ready to bear the strain of Thursday. It is one 
thing to be one of a great public, another to sing for 
that great public. Once I went to an afternoon con- 
cert just to treat myself to some singing that I wasn't 
doing myself. As I was leaving with the rest of the 
audience, a woman, a total stranger, came up to me. 

"Please go right home and go to bed," she said. 
" *Gotterdammerung' to-morrow !" 

And she was right. I felt she was. So I went 
home — ^and went to bed. 

Take a day when rehearsal has been called for half- 
past ten in the morning. I am up at eight. By nine 
o'clock my accompanist is at the piano and I go over 
some of the uncertain passages. An opera, and 
especially a Wagner music-drama, is such a big 
affair that even if you have sung it many times it still 
is necessary to **get up" on it every time you sing it 
and to rehearse it, no matter how long it has been in 
the repertoire. At half -past ten I am at the opera 
house and, if it is a music-drama that is in rehearsal, 
I am not likely to get away till half-past four or five 
in the afternoon. I have been standing and acting 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 69 

and singing most of the time, and usually without 
stopping for anything to eat, for it is not well to 
sing until some time after a meal. Yet when I get 
home, hot and tired, the first thing is the bath, and 
even then only something light to eat, for the system 
is too exhausted from the strain to assimilate the 
dinner that an ordinary person would eat after such 
an arduous day and so long a fast. 

But even then work is not over. Supposing that 
you have been rehearsing "Tristan" that day, and 
the following night you are to appear in "Gioconda." 
These are works of totally different schools, and to 
be "up" on them practically at the same time is a 
great test of vocal method. I have to turn at once 
from "Tristan" to the Italian work so as to become 
permeated with it before I go on the stage the next 
night. But I am too tired to stand at the piano and 
sing. So I rest on the sofa and listen to my accom- 
panist while he plays over the music of my role. 
After that I take the score to bed with me — literally 
— so that if, during a wakeful hour in the night or in 
the early morning, I should think of some point (and 
one often does at such times), I am able to turn to 
the music and work it out. Thus practically the 
whole time a singer's mind is on her task. 

Some people think a prima donna has a chance to 
rest in her dressing-room between the acts. Let me 
dispel that illusion. When I sing Valentine in "Les 
Huguenots," I do not appear until the second act. 
but in order to have time to dress and to "warm up" 
my voice, I am at the opera house at seven o'clock. 
As for rest between the acts — the Valentine costumes 
arc elaborate, and all my time, when not on the 



70 THE OPERA 

stage, is occupied in dressing. For Donna Anna in 
"Don Giovanni," I get to the opera house by half 
past six, for I am obHged to be on the stage soon 
after the raising of the curtain. As soon as my first 
scene is over I hasten to my dressing-room and hurry 
into the black costume which I wear later in the same 
act. Even after that I have no leisure, for I am 
obHged to change to another black costume. 

After the first act of **Tristan und Isolde," the 
Isolde is happy if she still is alive, for the act is very 
long and Isolde is constantly on the stage, and almost 
constantly active. Yet she has no time to rest. She 
knows that no matter how much she hurries, the stage 
will be ready before she can change her costume, 
and she fairly races so as not to keep the stage wait- 
ing any longer than necessary. 

You might think that during the long, long wait be- 
tween the second act and Isolde's cue late in the third 
act (for she does not go on until nearly the end of 
the third act) the prima donna would have an agree- 
able relaxation from the great scenes of the first and 
second acts. Yet that hour and twenty minutes in the 
dressing-room is the severest strain of all. Do I 
rest during this long interval? Oh, no. I keep 
walking about my dressing-room and singing. Other- 
wise the vocal organs would sink into a state of 
lethargy and I should not be able to key them up for 
Isolde's tremendous scene, the "Love Death," over 
Tristan's prostrate form. 

When I sing Selica in "L'Africaine/' I begin dress- 
ing at half -past five, for I have to "make up dark" 
for the role — stain my face and arms. There ar^ 
hurried changes of costume in this opera too. One 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 71 

night, between the acts of "L'Africaine/* one of the 
directors of the opera house brought Lord Charles 
Beresford and Sir Cavendish-Bentinck to call on me 
behind the scenes. I was obliged to remain standing 
during their call while various barbaric ornaments 
were being fastened to my costume. 

One Saturday afternoon, after the second act of 
"Tristan," my little niece, thinking I would have a 
long time for rest and relaxation, came back to pay 
me a visit. After watching me a while from the 
lounge, she exclaimed: 

"Why, Aunt Lillian! If Td known you carried on 
so, I wouldn't have come in. I thought this was your 
time for rest." 

Rest? The prima donna never rests. Every girl 
who really is going to be a prima donna is at it when 
she is young and keeps at it till she retires — that is, 
if she has the inborn love of it. Often I hear young 
women who are starting out to become singers say: 
"I will do anything, I will make every sacrifice for 
my art!" But they won't. 

The real prima donna says nothing. She makes 
the sacrifices, and when she stands before the public 
and finds herself in good voice and sees her audience 
hanging on every note and thrilled by every sound 
that issues from between her lips, she feels that all 
her sacrifices have not been sacrifices at all, but a 
joyous offering to her art. 



VIII. WAGNER'S PERSONALITY 
By Gustav Kobbe 

Home Life— Wagner at a Banquet — Personal Appearance — 
After-dinner Speech — Love of Animals — Affection and 
Generosity — Activity and Determination — Wagner's 
Humor — His Sincerity. 

T N the fierce contest which for nearly fifty years 
waged around Wagner his personality was not 
spared. His enemies, not content with pouring 
vituperation upon his music, assailed his private life 
and character. Yet his widow and son worship his 
memory; and the only one of his intimate friends 
whose reminiscences of him have been published — • 
Ferdinand Prager — has much to say of his personal 
worth, and draws a charming picture of the com- 
poser's home life with his second wife, Cosima Liszt. 
In spite of all his enemies may have said, or indeed 
still say, the mutual devotion of Wagner and Cosima 
and his love for his son Siegfried have become almost 
historical. The visitor to Wahnfried, Wagner's 
house at Bayreuth, may see, inscribed over the 
entrance, the following lines: 

Hier, Wo Mein Wahnen Fricdcn Fand, 
"Wahnfried," Sei Dieses Haus Von Mir Genannt 

Wahnen means longing, or rather the strenuous 
striving, amounting almost to madness, of an artist 
for the fulfillment of his aspirations and the triumph 

^2 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 73 

of his art. "Wahn fried" means rest from longing, 
and the lines over the entrance to Wagner's house 
signify that there at last he found the repose of soul 
and the respite from the world for which he had 
yearned. Fate, relenting toward the genius who had 
been fighting his way for half a century, had sent him 
the complement to his nature — a wife who loved him 
for himself and at the same time was in full sympathy 
with his aspirations. Cosima comprehended the man 
and the artist. 

Prager speaks of the high spirits with which at 
times Wagner seemed fairly to bubble over. During 
a sojourn in Bayreuth in 1882, when "Parsifal" was 
produced, I myself had the opportunity to observe 
this exuberance; for I often saw and heard Wagner. 
One does not forget the first sight of a great man, 
and the occasion on which I first saw Wagner is in- 
deHbly impressed on my memory. He gave a banquet 
to his artists, the evening after the final dress 
rehearsal of "Parsifal," at a restaurant high up on the 
hill and near the Wagner Theater. At one end of 
the large dining-hall the floor was slightly sunk below 
the level of the rest. The long table for Wagner and 
his guests was set on this lower portion. The public 
was admitted to dinner in the other and larger part 
of the hall, so that whoever cared to pay the com- 
paratively small price of the dinner was privileged to 
watch the proceedings below. This part of the hall 
was simply crowded; not a seat at any of the tables 
was unoccupied, and long after the tables were full 
many other people vainly sought admission. 

The artists had arrived and had been waiting for 
some time when the door swung open and Wagner 



74 THE OPERA 

entered rapidly. On his arm was Cosima; and fol- 
lowing them were his father-in-law, Franz Liszt, and 
young Siegfried Wagner, who looked like a minia- 
ture presentment of his father. Hardly had Wagner 
entered when he dropped Cosima's arm, and with 
short, quick steps hurried toward his artists; giving 
each in turn, from the highest to the lowest, a warm 
handshake, and smiling and laughing as he passed 
from one to the other. The wait for him had been 
tedious, but the moment he entered every one's spirits 
went up. His own exuberance was contagious. 

After he had greeted his artists he looked up to 
where we were sitting, straining our necks to see 
all that was going on. Exclaiming "Da ist ja auch 
das Publicum!" (Hello, there is the public!) in a half 
amused, half contemptuous tone of voice, he dashed 
up the short flight of steps which led to where we 
were, and in a moment was hurrying in and out 
among us, stopping to shake hands here and there 
with a friend. He was closely pursued by Judith 
Gautier, a daughter of Theophile Gautier, who 
seemed to want to obtain some favor from him which 
he did not wish to grant, but which he was too good- 
natured to deny outright. Occasionally he would 
half turn around and laughingly say something to 
her, and then keep on his way while she persistently 
followed. He finally reached the steps, dashed down 
them, and was again in the holy of holies among his 
artists, whither she did not dare follow him. 

At last Wagner seated himself, and the banquet 
began. On either side of him were Cosima and his 
father-in-law, Liszt. Seeing them in such close 
proximity it was easy to note the remarkable resem- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 75 

blance between Liszt and his daughter. They had the 
same strongly marked aquihne features. At the same 
table was a protege of Liszt, the pianist D' Albert, 
then a very youthful celebrity, but since become a 
famous pianist. 

But, of course, I was most interested in looking at 
Wagner himself. I frankly confess that when he first 
entered and came forward with quick, short, almost 
mincing steps, I was greatly disappointed in his per- 
sonal appearance. He was diminutive in stature, and 
his attire was spick and span — something which in a 
genius seems to me unpardonable. Every genius 
should be at least a little disheveled in order to come 
up to the public's idea of what he ought to be. If I 
remember rightly Wagner had on a black cutaway, 
light gray trousers, and immaculate lavender kid 
gloves. Over one arm was flung a light overcoat, and 
in his hand he carried a brown derby. He certainly 
did not at that moment realize the portrait that I had 
formed of him in my mind's eye. 

But when he was seated and I had an opportunity 
to examine his features more closely, I could not 
help being impressed with the marvelous brow, which 
seemed fairly to protrude with intellect and the power 
of applied energy. Then, as he talked, now with his 
wife, now with Liszt, occasionally flinging remarks 
across the table to Materna, Winckelmann, Gudehus, 
Scaria, or some of the other artists, his eyes sparkled 
with good humor, and his features were wonderfully 
mobile. At times, as if too full of vitality to remain 
long quiet, he would jump up from his chair and 
make the round of the table, with some pleasant 
verbal quip for each of his friends. 



76 THE OPERA 

I had always supposed that after-dinner speaking 
was a horror confined to the United States. But 
after the cigars had been Hghted one of the local 
dignitaries of Bayreuth arose and began a long and 
uninteresting speech full of lavish laudation of 
Wagner. Another followed, and administered one of 
the most effective sleeping-potions which it has ever 
been my fate to partake of — ^more effective even than 
that which Sieglinde administers to Hunding. But 
of a sudden every one was wide awake. Wagner 
was on his feet and speaking. Then it was I men- 
tally conceded that, after all, after-dinner speaking 
was not such a bad habit. 

Wagner's speech was as brief as the others had 
been long. He patted papa-in-law Liszt on the 
shoulder and spoke feelingly of him as one of the 
first who had befriended him, and as the man who 
had given to him his precious wife. I shall always 
remember the flood of emotion that he poured into the 
words **die teuere Gattin." He concluded with an 
eloquent tribute to his singers. After thanking those 
who had contributed to the fund for the "Parsifal" 
productions, he concluded: "But after all I am more 
indebted to my devoted, self-sacrificing artists; for 
art is not created by money, but is made possible only 
by artists." The singers who were gathered at 
Bayreuth in 1882 were a noble band, and passionately 
devoted to the great composer. 

Indeed, Wagner's master mind seemed to control 
everything and everybody at Bayreuth. I once wrote 
that near the Wagner Theater was an insane asylum 
with cells and strait-jackets for any anti-Wagnerites 
who were apprehended in Bayreuth, and a peni- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 77 

tentiary with a special lockup for small boys who 
were caught whistling anything but leading motives. 
But this really conveys an idea of how completely 
everything at Bayreuth was Wagnerized and how 
thoroughly it was dominated by Wagner's genius. 
During one of the "Parsifal" performances I chanced 
to see Wagner's head protrude from behind a bit of 
scenery. He was not trying to observe how closely 
the audience was following his work, but had his 
eyes on the stage. After the performance Matema 
explained to me that at rehearsals Wagner had not 
only indicated the positions on the stage which, he 
wished the various characters to take, but had actually 
made little chalk marks in order to be sure that his 
directions were followed. He was so anxious that 
they should be properly observed that at the moment 
I saw him he had incautiously thrust his head too far 
forward from the wings. 

Combined with his restless energy Wagner had 
many lovable traits, not the least of which was his 
affection for animals. When he was a boy he wit- 
nessed the killing of an ox by a butcher. He grew 
so excited that he would have rushed upon the man 
had not his companions forcibly led him from the 
scene. For a long time afterward he was unable to 
touch meat. To dogs he was devotedly attached. 
Whoever visited Wahn fried in 1882 rarely failed to 
notice the stately St. Bernard, Wotan, between whom 
and its master such mutual affection existed that, 
when in the following February Wagner's remains 
were laid at rest in Bayreuth, the dog refused to be 
comforted and could not be led away from the tomb, 
it becoming necessary to even feed ft there. 



78 THE OPERA 

Wagner and the various dogs he owned were 
almost inseparable companions. He delighted to en- 
gage in long conversations with them, himself supply- 
ing their answers, "infusing into these much of that 
caustic wit which philosophers of all ages and 
countries have so often and powerfully put into the 
mouth of animals." Wagner was fond of quoting 
Weber's remark to a disobedient dog: "If you go on 
like that you will at last become as silly and as bad 
as a human being." In Boulogne, where he arrived 
in the late thirties, after a visit to London, a huge 
Newfoundland dog appeared with him so constantly 
in the streets that he became known as "le petit homme 
avec le grand chien." 

When the composition of "Tannhauser" was near- 
ing its completion, while the ill success of his works 
outside of Dresden had made him morbid and 
despondent, the love of a few friends and that of his 
dog was almost his only solace. He often remarked 
that his dog had helped him compose "Tannhauser." 
When he was seated at the piano singing boisterously 
while composing, the dog would leap from its place 
at its master's feet on to the table, peer into his face, 
and begin to howl. Then Wagner would shake the 
animal's paw, exclaim, "What, it does not suit you?" 
and add, quoting from Shakespeare, "Well, I will do 
thy bidding gently." 

While an exile in Zurich he would take his dog 
Peps with him on his long walks. Sometimes he 
would declaim violently against his persecutors. Then 
Peps, the "human Peps," as Wagner called him, would 
bark and snap as if aiding his master; returning after 
each sally to be praised and petted. "Peps," he once 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 79 

remarked, "has more sense than all your wooden 
contrapuntists." 

In 1855, when Wagner was conductor of the 
London Philharmonic, he found that a large Nor- 
wegian dog belonging to Prager was kept in a small 
back yard. He expostulated against what he called 
the cruelty of such close confinement, and made it a 
point when he went out on his daily constitutional to 
take the dog with him. This duty he continued to 
perform during his stay in London, notwithstanding 
the fact that he was often tugged hither and thither 
by the spirited animal, which rejoiced at its semi- 
freedom. Every day while in London Wagner bought 
a supply of French rolls, and went to the small bridge 
over the ornamental water in Regent's Park, to feed 
the ducks as well as a regal swan, of which he used 
to say that it was fit to draw the chariot of Lohen- 
grin. "The childlike happiness, full to overflowing, 
with which this innocent occupation filled Wagner, 
was an impressive sight, never to be forgotten. It 
was Wagner you saw before you, the natural man, 
affectionate, gentle and mirthful." 

In one of his first letters to Prager, when he had 
returned to Zurich after this season in London, he 
asked if Prager 's cat still had its bad cold. Shortly 
afterward his dear Peps died in its master's arms, 
"passing away without a sound quietly and peace- 
fully. I cried incessantly, and since then have felt 
bitter pain and sorrow for the dear friend of the past 
thirteen years, who ever worked and walked with 



me. 



Prager relates that Wagner almost came to blows in 
the London streets with a grocer who had cruelly 



8o THE OPERA 

beaten his horse ; and one of the latest literary efforts 
of his life was an essay against vivisection. Certainly 
a man who throughout his life showed in so many 
ways his love for dumb animals must have been in- 
nately affectionate and tender ; and if he ever showed 
himself otherwise, it was because of the irritability 
created by the fierce attacks of which he was con- 
stantly a victim. 

Though naturally affected with the colossal egotism 
which seems to be part of the make-up of every in- 
tense creative genius, he was not lacking in gratitude. 
His letters to Liszt teem with expressions of the 
most affectionate recognition of all that composer had 
done for him ; and I have already quoted his grateful 
reference to Liszt at the Bayreuth banquet. He 
fairly worshiped the memory of his stepfather Geyer ; 
and when late in Wagner's life one of Geyer's long- 
forgotten little comedies was played for him at a 
private performance, as a birthday surprise, his de- 
light was almost childish. His mother, "lieb' Miitter- 
chen," as he always called her, he adored; and he 
poured his love for her into the exquisite music of 
"Siegfried" whenever the young hero of that music- 
drama alludes to his mother. All Wagner's refer- 
ences to his mother were, according to Prager, "of 
affection, amounting almost to idolatry." 

Nor did Wagner's egotism warp his judgment of 
the composers of the past. When he was a conductor 
at the Royal Opera in Dresden, he successfully 
revived interest in Gluck's and Mozart's operas. The 
ultimate appreciation of Beethoven's Ninth symphony 
was largely due to performances of that work under 
Wagner's baton, and to the analysis of the symphony 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 8i 

which he wrote. When he proposed to give it in 
Dresden opposition was raised on account of the ex- 
pense. Accordingly he went to all the trouble of 
borrowing the orchestral parts from Leipzig, learning 
the symphony by heart to avoid the outlay for an 
orchestral score, and inducing choir-boys from neigh- 
boring churches to assist in the performance. 

Nor are there lacking instances of warm-hearted 
sympathy on Wagner's part toward those who were 
unfriendly to him. The attitude of Berlioz toward 
Wagner was decidedly frigid. Yet when Wagner 
was invited in London to meet a French musical 
amateur in the confidence of the Emperor — the idea 
being that something might thus be accomplished 
toward awakening the latter's interest in Wagner's 
music — what did Wagner do? He implored the 
Frenchman to persuade the Emperor to espouse 
Berlioz's cause. 

Wagner was a man of great physical as well as 
mental activity. I have spoken of the quick manner 
in which he moved about among the guests at the 
Bayreuth banquet. It was characteristic of the man. 
When he was a schoolboy he threw a schoolmate's 
cap high upon a steep roof. The lad began to cry. 
This was more than Wagner could stand. At great 
risk to his life he climbed the roof, threw down the 
cap to the boy, and then, letting himself down through 
the manhole into the garret, hid there to escape the 
reprimands of his teachers, who appeared incensed 
at his recklessness, though, probably, they secretly 
admired it. 

Prager, who went to visit him in Tribschen in the 
summer of 187 1, tells a capital anecdote of the com- 



82 THE OPERA 

poser's buoyant, active temperament, which years had 
not lessened. They were sitting on an ottoman in the 
drawing-room, when the composer of "The Ring of 
the Nibelung," "Tristan," and the "Meistersinger" 
suddenly rose and stood on his head upon the otto- 
man. Just then the door opened and Madame Wag- 
ner entered. Seeing her husband in this curious 
position, she hastened forward exclaiming, "Aber! 
lieber Richard! lieber Richard!" Quickly resuming 
his natural position Wagner explained to her that 
he was not insane, but was merely proving to his 
friend Ferdinand that he could stand on his head at 
sixty. 

Coupled with this activity was great determination. 
When he was in London his crossing of crowded 
thoroughfares was so intrepid as to border upon the 
reckless. He would go straight across; leaving it to 
the drivers of the various vehicles which were bear- 
ing down upon him to take care that they did not run 
over him. This recklessness is interesting as a physi- 
cal manifestation of his mental attitude toward his 
art. No man ever dared more in art than Wagner. 
The energy with which he went to work to produce 
the Ninth symphony in Dresden as already related, 
was characteristic. He did everything thoroughly 
and with the full conviction that he was bound to 
succeed. 

Ill success only seemed to inspire him to greater 
energy. The return of his scores of "Rienzi," "The 
Flying Dutchman," and "Tannhauser," unopened 
by managers, resulted in his working with redoubled 
zeal upon "Lohengrin." When he saw no immediate 
prospect of securing the production of that opera, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 83 

he began the composition of an art-work even more 
advanced — "The Ring of the Nibelung." It is a mat- 
ter of history that nearly a quarter of a century went 
by before that cycle saw the light of a theater. 
Meanwhile he composed "Tristan'* and "The Meister- 
singer." There is no greater example of energy in the 
history of art than Wagner. If some one could be 
induced to count all the musical notes and words that 
Wagner wrote during his hfe, the figures would be 
found to be simply appalling. 

Even when his cause had been espoused by the 
King of Bavaria the spirit of independence, fostered 
by his immense creative force, did not forsake him. 
Once after an interview with the King in which they 
disagreed, he remarked to a friend, who cautioned 
him to be more diplomatic, "I have lived before with- 
out the King, and I can do so again." He was thorough- 
ly absorbed in his art. Everything seemed to him to 
center around it. When preparations were under 
way for the production of his "Ring of the Nibelung" 
at Bayreuth, he wrote to Prager: "It appears to me 
that the whole German Empire is created only to aid 
me in attaining my object." 

In view of the length of most of his works, it is 
interesting to note that even as a boy he planned 
things on a large scale. While at school his passion 
for Shakespeare led him to write a drama which, he 
himself says, was a jumble of "Lear" and "Hamlet," 
and was so long that, all the characters having died, he 
was obliged, in the last act, to bring their ghosts on 
the stage in order to keep the play going. Wagner's 
unbounded admiration for Shakespeare continued 
throughout his life. When he first entered West- 



84 THE OPERA 

minster Abbey he immediately sought out the Shake- 
speare monument; and the first Christmas present he 
made to Cosima, after she became his wife, was a 
costly edition of Shakespeare's works, which he im- 
ported from London. 

When his energy was not expended in his art 
work, it found vent in many humorous sallies. I 
have already related how he stood on his head for 
Prager. That was physical humor. But he was also 
fond of joking. He once quoted his teacher's remark 
that he would never learn to play the piano. "But," 
he added, "I play a great deal better than Berlioz." 
The waggishness of this remark lies in the fact that 
Berlioz could not play at all. During a rehearsal of 
the **Rienzi" overture in Dresden the trombones 
were too loud. Instead of rebuking them angrily, he 
said, with a laugh: "Gentlemen, we are in Dresden, 
not marching around the walls of Jericho." After 
"Tannhauser" was brought out a German composer 
of little note, named Chellard, said that the "Song 
to the Evening Star" was wrongly harmonized, and 
suggested certain harmonies which should be sub- 
stituted for those employed by Wagner. When Wag- 
ner was among friends it was one of his favorite 
diversions to seat himself at the piano and sing the 
"Song to the Evening Star" a la Chellard. 

Just as this buoyancy and fondness for amusement 
were the result of his wonderful activity of mind, so 
also this fundamental trait of his character made him 
an enemy to all sham. The Duke of Coburg had 
composed an opera which he asked Wagner to score 
for him : offering him a sum equivalent to a thousand 
dollars, besides two months' residence in his palace. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 85 

The offer came to Wagner when he was in compara- 
tively needy circumstances, but he promptly declined 
it. He did not care to clothe another's work in his 
orchestral garb. To a tailor who expressed surprise 
that he wanted silk for the back of his waistcoat, be- 
cause it was not seen, Wagner exclaimed : "Not seen ! 
Sham, sham in everything, is the tendency of the age. 
Whatever is not seen may be shabby, provided the 
exterior be richly gilded." 

It is pleasant to know that, through many years of 
strife, Wagner had his indomitable will-power, his 
love for his friends, and his spirit of humor to fall 
back upon. It is even more pleasant to reflect that^ 
he lived to see the art work of his life triumphant, 
and to know of a happy home. During those latter 
years of his life a wonderful sense of peace seems to 
have pervaded his being. "God make every one 
happy. Amen !" is a sentence in one of his last letters 
to Prager. What more fitting answer to the detractors 
of his personal character? 



IX. THE BUSINESS SIDE OF GRAND OPERA 

By Gustav Kobbe 

Duties of a Manager — Work and Diplomacy — Earnings and 
Expenditures — A Manager's Trials — Dealings with Sing- 
ers — Expenses at the Metropolitan — Performances There 
— The Box Office — Rules for Ticket-sellers — Lost Articles. 

"DROADLY speaking, the duties of an opera man- 
^^ ager are to keep an eye on everybody and every- 
thing connected with his company, from the prin- 
cipal prima donna, who receives $1700 a performance, 
to the "practical" property monkey which opens its 
jaws and shows its gums in one of the scenes in "The 
Magic Flute." This statement will perhaps convey 
some idea of the variety which enters into the life of 
a manager of grand opera. 

The most important representative of this active 
species in this country is the "managing director" of 
the company which sings at the Metropolitan Opera 
House, New York. 

While the leading members of this company appear 
in perhaps six or eight performances a month, the 
director may be said to give a continuous perform- 
ance all the year round. For when the singers are 
not in a scene before the audience, they are apt to 
be making a scene in the impresario's office. The 
plot and situations of these private representations are 

86 




THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 87 

generally based on the numerous intricacies always to 
be found in opera singers' contracts. 

To an ordinary mortal, a contract of this kind 
appears like a labyrinth, without a kindly Ariadne to 
furnish the thread enabling him to find his way out 
of the maze of conditions. Considering that a grand 
opera impresario has not one such contract, but a 
whole stack of them, it is wonderful how he can 
remember just what he can call upon each of his 
singers to do. Some idea of the work and diplomacy 
required to "sign" the leading members of an opera 
company like that at the Metropolitan may be gath- 
ered from a clause in the contract which the director 
had with the subcompany by which he was employed 
before the owners of the opera house themselves 
financed the enterprise and placed the director on a 
salary. It provided that should he be disabled or die 
at any time after he had engaged his artists for the 
ensuing season — even before the season began, and in 
fact before the artists engaged abroad sailed for this 
country — his heirs should nevertheless be entitled to 
draw out his share of the profits during the entire 
season. In other words, he was considered to have 
earned his money before the curtain rose on the first 
performance — ^in fact, even before the company as- 
sembled in this country. Not only had he to exercise 
the shrewdness necessary to meet the whims and 
demands of the singers whom he wished to engage, 
but a large amount of money passed through his hands 
while he was still closing the contracts. For operatic 
contracts call for advance payments, and an opera di- 
rector, while engaging his company during the summer, 
is obliged to pay out about $100,000 in advances. 



88 THE OPERA 

The public is apt to hear of large earnings on the 
tours, and of enormous advance sales in New York, 
but knows little about the expenses of an opera com- 
pany and the worries of its manager. It sounds very 
grandiose to say that, including the money taken in 
on tour and the advance sales in New York, the cur- 
tain at a first performance at the Metropolitan Opera 
House last season rose on over a million dollars. But 
when it is stated that one season one tenor, Jean de 
Reszke, was paid in round figures $100,000, that dur- 
ing another season one prima donna, Mme. Calve, 
would have earned even more, had it not been for 
her illness during the tour, and that she was only one 
of a large number of high-priced artists in the com- 
pany, it will be seen that the salary list of an im- 
presario, quite aside from the rest of his expense 
account, is enormous. 

Melba receives $3000 a performance and Caruso 
the same amount. These are the highest honoraria 
paid on the stage. But in addition Caruso has a 
guarantee of eighty performances a year, so that his 
three years' contract will bring him in the sum of 
$720,000. This contract was made by Heinrich 
Conried, Maurice Grau's successor, and on Conried's 
death was taken over by the opera house itself. 

Doubtless, however, the impresario would consider 
the drawing of checks to meet such expenses a com- 
paratively agreeable occupation, especially in the case 
of a drawing card like Caruso, if it would insure him 
against the personal trials which are the bane of his 
Hfe. The late Maurice Grau at one time issued a 
prospectus of each season. He ceased doing so. The 
artists nearly worried the life out of him because 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 89 

this one wanted to be first in the list of prima donnas, 
tenors, barytones, or bassos; this one last with the 
magic word "and" before his name. That "and" was 
a great invention. It made the first and last on the 
list about coequal and enabled the manager to satisfy 
at least two singers in each branch of his company. 
But the relief was only temporary. There soon were 
as many candidates for the "and" as there had been 
for the head of the list. So Grau got out of the dif- 
ficulty by abandoning the prospectus altogether. He 
did, indeed, issue a prospectus for the tour, in which 
he diplomatically, as he thought, printed the names 
in their alphabetical order. But this raised a hubbub, 
compared with which the storm in "Die Walkure" 
and the crash in the finale of "Gotterdammerung" 
were as the whispering of spring breezes. 

By abandoning the prospectus, a director of opera 
rids himself of one worry. But there are others 
which probably will never cease until opera singers' 
natures undergo a complete . change. To look upon 
the splendid physical proportions of some of the 
principal singers you would hardly suppose they were 
such delicate creatures as they sometimes appear to 
be. But whether it is "indisposition" or a mere whim 
prompted, perhaps, by jealousy, there is no going be- 
hind a physician's certificate, even if it is not sent to 
the opera house earlier than an hour or two prior to 
the performance in which the singer was to have 
taken the leading role. Then perhaps the impresario 
recalls the scene in his office a day or two before, 
when the singer, suddenly "indisposed," wanted to 
know why he let another prima donna sing Aida 
when it was her role; or why he should have cast 



90 THE OPERA 

Mme. A. for Elisabeth in the first performance of 
"Tannhauser" when it had always been her — Mme. 
B.'s — ^privilege to sing that role in the first representa- 
tion of the opera. Nor does it add a touch of pleasure 
to his reflections as he contemplates the physician's 
certificate, to recall the fact that it was he who made 
that prima donna^s fortune. 

To revert again to Grau. who was our most famous 
opera director, he conducted several tours for Sarah 
Bernhardt. She appeared about 1500 times under his 
direction. During that entire period there were only 
five performances in which she disappointed her 
audiences. In physique she was almost a shadow 
compared with some opera singers who disappointed 
him as often as five times a month. Naturally, he 
concluded that there is some constitutional difference 
between actors and singers. One could hardly apply 
the old quip, "An empty cab drove up and out stepped 
Sarah Bernhardt," to a Briinnhilde. Yet it has hap- 
pened that some Brunnhildes are more apt to vanish 
into thin air on the eve of a performance than the 
great French actress, whose slender physique fur- 
nished so much amusement to the paragraphers. 

An opera director not infrequently works the 
greater part of two days and far into the nights 
arranging a week's repertoire. For the repertoire 
must be made up with a view to many conditions. It 
must be sufficiently varied, so that Mrs. C, who has 
a certain box on "even nights and odd matinees," is 
not required to Hsten too often to the same opera; 
while similar consideration must be paid to Mrs. D., 
who has the same box for "odd nights and even 
matinees." 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 91 

But this is a trifling matter compared with the 
guarantees of the singers which the impresario must 
observe in making out the repertoire. A prima donna 
will have, for instance, a guarantee that he will give 
her forty performances in four months, or ten per- 
formances a month, at a thousand dollars a perform- 
ance. This means that he must arrange for her to 
appear exactly ten times during each month. He 
cannot crowd twelve or fifteen performances into 
one month for her, and then let her sing a corre- 
spondingly fewer number of times during the remain- 
ing months. For every performance above the 
guaranteed ten which she gives during a month she 
receives an extra thousand dollars, with the privilege 
of appearing the regular ten times during the next 
month. If, however, the impresario should fail to 
arrange for her to sing more than eight times during 
a month, he would nevertheless still be obliged to pay 
her for ten performances. For this reason, unless 
her guarantees are carefully observed by the manager 
when he is making out the repertoire, every mistake 
he makes with regard to this particular prima donna 
costs him a thousand dollars. There are singers at 
the Metropolitan Opera House a mistake with whom 
would cost the impresario from $1000 to $3000. It is 
no wonder, therefore, that the director makes out a 
week's repertoire with a sort of checker-board before 
him divided into squares for each performance in 
and out of town, and with slips of paper containing 
the names of the singers for pawns, while before him, 
for the rules of the game, he has an abstract of his 
contracts showing what each singer has been guaran- 
teed as regards roles and number of performances. 



92 THE OPERA 

Even after all this work has been gone through 
with, there is still the question "Will this repertoire 
stand?" The director has such a dread of physicians' 
certificates coming in at the last moment, that he does 
not feel safe until, from his seat in the parquet, he 
sees the curtain rise. It is bad enough to have to 
change prima donnas at the last moment, although 
that is a matter that can generally be arranged over 
the telephone. But when several principal singers in 
a cast have become indisposed, and it is found neces- 
sary to change the opera, quick work is required. Half 
a dozen messengers are sent scurrying in all directions. 
The manager may have thought of putting on 
"Lohengrin." He must be sure of an Elsa. There- 
fore, a messenger is sent to each of the prima donnas 
who have this role in their repertoire. Neither of 
them may be able to sing, and so, although the hour 
is late, another opera may have to be substituted for 
"Lohengrin." As many as four changes in the opera 
for the night may have been made in an afternoon, 
and at times it has been only by a hair's breadth that 
the house has not remained dark. 

One season, in order to save a performance of 
"Rheingold," the famous Lilli Lehmann, who had 
never sung the role of Fricka, was obliged to learn it 
in an afternoon. Fortunately, she was familiar with 
the music from often having heard the opera. Her 
sister, Marie Lehmann, who was with her, had sung 
the role many times, but could not step into the breach 
because, being a pensipnaire of the Vienna Opera 
House, she would forfeit her pension if she sang 
on any other stage. She was, however, able to as- 
sist Mme. Lehmann materially in "swallowing" the 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 93 

role, and prompted and coached her from the wings. 

Grau had a very large company, and was some- 
times considered an extravagant manager because 
he had so many prima donnas and so many tenors on 
his list. He was greatly amused at this point of view, 
for there were many occasions when he found that 
instead of having too many singers he had too few. 

The expenses of an opera company like that at 
the Metropolitan average from $40,000 to $45,000 a 
week, or about $1,000,000 a season. How greatly 
the principal singers figure in the expense list may 
be judged from the statement that their guarantees 
amount to about one-half, or $500,000. If all of 
Caruso's eighty guaranteed appearances occurred here 
the figures would be much larger. Quoting the exact 
figures from a season's balance-sheet, it is found that 
the prima donnas received $216,800, and the princi- 
pal men singers $316,000, a total of $532,800. Is it 
policy to pay such high salaries? The question is 
answered by the statement that the performances 
which cost most pay best. The public knows when it 
is getting a great cast, and is willing to put out 
money to hear it. It may have cost over $10,000 to 
raise the curtain on the "seven dollar" performance 
of "Les Huguenots" with Melba, Nordica, "Jean," 
"Edouard," Lasalle and Maurel. But the public paid 
nearly $14,000 to hear it. The record production is 
"Parsifal." Costing in round figures $100,000 to pro- 
duce, its ten performances during its first season at the 
Metropolitan brought in $160,000. 

Speaking of the boxes, it is an interesting fact that 
ownership of a box at the Metropolitan Opera House 
has proved itself a profitable investment. The par- 



94 THE OPERA 

terre boxes which are held by the stockholders repre- 
sent $35,000 in stock. One of the boxes belonging to 
an estate could recently have been sold for $75,000; 
but the estate preferred to keep it. There have been 
instances of the letting of stockholder boxes for $6000 
for the season. This is certainly paying high for the 
privilege of sitting within the charmed circle of the 
"glittering horseshoe." 

I have referred to the half a million dollars paid dur- 
ing a season to the principal singers. The next largest 
item is $90,000 for the orchestra, and next to that 
comes $25,000 for transportation. In speaking of ex- 
pensive performances, I have mentioned that of "Les 
Huguenots" when it cost over $10,000 to raise the cur- 
tain. At that performance, however, scenery, cos- 
tumes, and properties were not new. When an opera 
is produced for the first time the cost of these must be 
added to the salaries for the night. 

To see that the production of the new work is prop- 
erly prepared for is one of the chief duties of a grand 
opera manager. Besides "Parsifal," one of the most 
elaborately mounted series of performances at the 
Metropolitan was the revival of Mozart's "Magic 
Flute." With, what care it was planned, and with how 
much expense it was carried out, may be gathered from 
the fact that the director traveled to Munich and took 
several of the heads of his departments with him to 
witness the revival of the work there. It was calcu- 
lated that the production of the work here cost about 
$35>ooo, exclusive of the running expenses of the even- 
ing. Various improvements on the Munich production 
were planned and the manager had to study and ap- 
prove of these, as well as keep control of the general 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 95 

scheme of production. In the scenic department alone 
fifteen new scenes and a double panorama over three 
hundred feet long from "gridiron" to cellar, and rep- 
resenting the passage of the hero and heroine through 
earth, fire, and water, had to be provided. Here was 
one instance in which the German production was 
greatly improved upon. In Germany the panorama 
moved across the stage ; here it worked downward, so 
that the hero and heroine seemed to ascend. Here, 
moreover, the panorama was double, the characters 
standing behind a moving front gauze, adding greatly 
to the effectiveness of the scene. Another improve- 
ment was introduced almost at the outset of the per- 
formance, with the quick change of scene at the en- 
trance of the Queen of the Night. Here she descended 
seated on a moon over a dome of stars. The dome 
effect was admirably reproduced, and the back drop 
was studded with no less than a thousand stars, all elec- 
trically lighted. While such details are studied out by 
the scene-painter and the electrician of the opera 
house, they are submitted to the director and have 
to be carefully considered by him before receiving his 
final approval. 

The same thing applies to the properties. For "The 
Magic Flute" a complete menagerie was required. In 
the property room upstairs, behind the scenes, this 
operatic zoo was produced. It consisted of five snakes, 
four lions, one giraffe, one tiger, one elephant, one 
camel, two alligators, four monkeys, and about one 
hundred birds. The director found himself, besides a 
grand opera manager, a Barnum on a small scale, but 
fortunately the animals in his menagerie did not re- 
quire to be fed. Speaking of the camel reminds me of 



96 THE OPERA 

a contretemps at the opera house some years ago, 
which shows how thoroughly a manager has to keep 
his eyes open while a production is in preparation. An 
opera was given which had a procession with several 
camels in it. Each camel was worked by two men con- 
cealed in the body and representing the front and hind 
legs. Through an oversight, the men in these camels 
kept step like soldiers on parade as they came on the 
stage, and the result was absolutely ridiculous. The 
opera was withdrawn after a few performances, but 
the "pacing camels,** as they were called, were long a 
source of amusement. The stage manager was respon- 
sible for the mistake, but the final consequence had to 
be borne by the director. 

Fortunately there is another side to the story of 
operatic management besides worry and expense. The 
window of the box office is a wee orifice compared 
with the size of the house, but through it flows the 
elixir of life — the money of the public. The receipts of 
a New York season amount to more than $1,200,000. 

If the public could get more than just a peep at the 
box office, it would learn a number of interesting 
things. For each performance 3425 tickets are required, 
and it takes the box-office staff two days to separate 
the single sale from the subscription tickets for each 
week, so that the latter shall not be sold in duplicate. 
All the tickets must be "racked** by Wednesday night, 
because the sale for the next week begins on Thursday. 
As a rule, a performance is not sold out until the night 
itself. But the treasurer, who presides over the box of- 
fice at the Metropolitan Opera House, remembers a 
Patti performance when the box office opened at nine 
o'clock in the morning and the house was sold out by 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 97 

one o'clock in the afternoon. The box-office window 
at the Metropolitan Opera House drops with the cur- 
tain at night. There are two sellers on duty during 
the week, and three on Sunday night, because a Sunday 
night concert audience is what is known as a "late 
audience." It puts off buying tickets until the last 
moment. 

A former treasurer of the Metropolitan has con- 
siderable reputation among the theater treasurers of 
the country as the author of a set of rules for the guid- 
ance of ticket-sellers, some of which are as follows: 

"You must be a mind-reader." 

"Never assert your rights." 

"When a lady stands an hour or two, selecting a 
seat, don't suggest to her to bring her sewing and spend 
the afternoon, as she might be offended." 

"When a man comes up to the window smoking a 
bad cigar and blows the smoke in your face, smile as 
if you liked it, and ask him where you can buy the 
same brand." 

"When a person leaves a quarter, be sure to call 
him back, for he will come back later and declare he 
left a dollar." 

Articles lost at the opera house are turned in at 
the box office, where they are tagged and kept, ready 
to be delivered to the one who can prove ownership. 
They form a most heterogenous collection. One sea- 
son, over one thousand keys were found, and in a 
closet in the box office there is a stack of umbrellas 
on one side and a heap of rubbers on the other. A 
few seasons ago a bracelet of diamonds and emeralds, 
certainly of over $10,000 in value, was found in one of 
the boxes. The next morning it was sent up to the 



98 THE OPERA 

house of the boxholder and promptly recognized. The 
most curious part of the incident was that the bracelet 
had not been missed by the lady who had worn it. Tlie 
first she knew of its loss was its return. Among the 
most remarkable finds have been a set of false teeth, a 
morphine fiend's outfit, and two silk hats. How two 
men could have deliberately walked out of the opera 
house of a winter's night without realizing that they 
were minus their hats is a mystery. Possibly the 
charms of music had turned their heads. 

Notwithstanding much able assistance, the director 
himself is the final and responsible head of the opera 
enterprise. Were it a failure, it would be he who 
would have to drain the bitter cup to the dregs. He is 
the nerve-center of the opera season, whether it is re- 
garded from the artistic or the business standpoint. 
The Metropolitan has been so liberal with the public, 
and established such a high standard for opera in this 
country, that it is pleasant to reflect that while an 
opera company is an enormous hole into which to 
shovel money, some of it is occasionally found at the 
end of the season to have stuck to the shovel. 



STORIES OF THE OPERAS 



■ • 



•• • • 



• - • • • 
: •• • 



• _• 



STORIES OF THE OPERAS 



••• • 



The preceding section presents a brief outline of the develop- 
ment of opera from the earliest times to our own day. From 
this general introduction we proceed to a description of the 
principal operatic works produced during the modern period of 
that development. 

L'AFRICAINE 

Opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. 
Text by Scribe. 

T^HE first act is laid in Lisbon. Donna Ines, Ad- 
^ miral Diego's daughter, is to give her hand to 
Don Pedro, a counselor of the King of Portugal. But 
she has pledged her faith to Vasco da Gama, who has 
been sent with Dias, the navigator, to double the Cape, 
in order to seek for a new land, containing treasures 
similar to those discovered by Columbus. Reports 
have reached Lisbon that the whole fleet has been de- 
stroyed, when suddenly Vasco da Gama appears before 
the assembled council of state. 

He eloquently describes the dangers of the unknown 
seas near the Cape and gives an account of the ship- 
wreck, from which he alone has escaped. He then 
places his maps before the council, endeavoring to 
prove that beyond Africa there is another country, yet 
to be explored and conquered. 
Vasco has on his way home picked up a man and a 

lOI 






• •• 

• • • 









loa . •. •. THE OPERA 

womah'xif an unknown race. Those slaves, however, 
stubbornly refuse to betray the name of their country, 
,.^wd.^ lively debate ensues between the Grand Inquisi- 
•*.' -.^^r and the younger, more enlightened members of the 
'"ij** council, as to the course which should be adopted with 
•'• Vasco. At last, owing to the irritation caused by his 
violent reproaches, fanaticism is victorious, and instead 
of being furnished with a ship to explore those un- 
known lands, he is thrown into prison, on the plea of 
his being a heretic, for having mantained the existence 
of countries which were not mentioned in the Holy 
Scriptures. 

The second act takes place in a cell of the Inquisi- 
tion, in which Vasco has been languishing for a month 
past, in the company of the strange slaves Nelusco and 
Selica. The latter has lost her heart to the proud Por- 
tuguese, who saved her and her companion from a 
slave-ship. But Vasco is only thinking of Ines, and 
Nelusco, who honors in Selica not only his Queen, but 
the woman of his love, tries to stab Vasco — the Chris- 
tian, whom he hates with a deadly hatred. Selica 
hinders him and rouses the sleeping Vasco, who has 
been dreaming of and planning his voyage to the un- 
known country. 

Selica now shows him on the map the way to her 
native isle, and he vows her eternal gratitude. His 
liberty is indeed near at hand, for hardly has he given 
his vow than Ines steps in to announce that Vasco is 
free. She has paid dearly for her lover's deliverance, 
however, for she has given her hand to Vasco's rival 
Don Pedro, who. having got all Vasco's plans and 
maps, is commissioned by government to set out on the 
voyage of discovery. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 103 

Ines has been told that Vasco has forgotten her for 
Selica the slave. In order to prove his fidelity, our 
ungrateful hero immediately presents her with the two 
slaves, and Don Pedro resolves to make use of them 
for his exploration. 

In the third act we are on board of Don Pedro's 
ship in the Indian seas. Donna Ines is with her hus- 
band and Nelusco has been appointed pilot. Don Al- 
var, a member of the council and Don Pedro's friend, 
warns the latter that Nelusco is meditating treason, for 
they have already lost two ships ; but Pedro disregards 
the warning. A typhoon arises, and Nelusco turns the 
ship again northward. But Vasco has found means to 
follow them on a small sailing vessel; he overtakes 
them and, knowing the spot well where Dias was ship- 
wrecked, he entreats them to change their course, his 
only thought being Donna Ines's safety. But Pedro, 
delighted to have his rival in his power, orders him to 
be bound and shot. Ines, hearing his voice, invokes 
her husband's mercy. Just then the tempest breaks 
out, the vessel strikes upon a rock and the cannibals 
inhabiting the neighboring country leap on board to 
liberate their Queen Selica and to massacre the whole 
crew, in the fulfillment of which intention they are, 
however, arrested by Selica. 

In the following acts Selica resides as Queen on the 
Isle of Madagascar. The people render her homage, 
but her priests demand the strangers' lives as a sacri- 
fice to their gods, while the women are condemned 
to inhale the poisoned perfume of the Manzanillo- 
tree. In order to save Vasco, Selica proclaims him 
her husband and takes Nelusco as witness, swearing 
to him that if Vasco is sacrificed she will die with him. 



I04 THE OPERA 

Nelusco, whose love for his Queen is greater even than 
his hatred for Vasco, vouches for their being man and 
wife, and the people now proceed to celebrate the sol- 
emn rites of marriage. 

Vasco, at last recognizing Selica's great love, and 
believing Ines dead, once more vows eternal fidelity to 
her. but alas ! hearing the voice of Ines, who is about 
to be led to death, he turns pale and Selica but too 
truly divines the reason. 

In the fifth act Selica is resolved to put her rival to 
death. She sends for her, but perceiving Ines's love, 
her wrath vanishes, her magnanimity soars above her 
hatred of the Christians, and she orders Nelusco to 
bring Ines and Vasco on board of a ship about to sail 
for Portugal. 

Selica herself, unable to endure life without her 
beloved one, proceeds to the Cape, where the Manza- 
nillo-tree spreads his poisonous shade. Her eyes 
fastened on the vast ocean and on the white sail of the 
retiring vessel, she inhales the sweet but deadly per- 
fume of the blossoms, and the returning Nelusco finds 
her dying, while an unseen chorus consoles her with 
the thought that in Love's eternal domain all are equal. 

AIDA 

Grand Romantic Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Vcrdi. 

Text by Ghislanzoni. 

npHE scene of action is alternately Memphis and 
^ Thebes, and the story belongs to the period when 
the Pharaohs sat on the throne. 

In the first act we see the King's palace at Memphis. 
Ramphis, the high priest of Pharaoh, announces to the 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 105 

Egyptian general Radames that the Ethiopians are in 
revolt and that the goddess I sis has decided who shall 
be leader of the army sent out against them. Radames 
secretly hopes to be the elected, in order to win the 
Ethiopian slave Aida, whom he loves, not knowing that 
she is a king's daughter. 

Enter Amneris, daughter of Pharaoh. She loves 
Radames without his knowledge and so does Aida. 
Amneris, suspecting this, swears to avenge herself, 
should her suspicion prove correct. 

The King's messenger announces that Amonasro, 
the Ethiopian king (Aida's father), is marching to the 
capital, and that Radames is chosen to conquer the foe. 
Radames goes to the temple to invoke the benediction 
of the goddess and to receive the sacred arms. 

In the second act Amneris, in order to test Aida's 
feelings, tells her that Radames fell in battle, and finds 
her doubts confirmed by Aida's terror. Amneris open- 
ly threatens her rival, and both hasten to receive the 
soldiers, who return victorious. In Radames's suite 
walks King Amonasro, who has been taken prisoner, 
disguised as a simple officer. Aida recognizes her 
father, and Amonasro, telling his conqueror that the 
Ethiopian king has fallen, implores his clemency. Ra- 
dames, seeing Aida in tears, adds his entreaties to those 
of the Ethiopian ; and Pharaoh decides to set the pris- 
oners free, with the exception of Aida's father, who is 
to stay with his daughter. Pharaoh then gives Amneris 
to Radames as a recompense for his services. 

In the third act Amonasro has discovered the mutual 
love of his daughter and Radames and resolves to make 
use of it. While Amneris prays in the temple that 
her bridegroom may give his whole heart to her, 



io6 THE OPERA 

Amonasro bids his daughter discover the secret of the 
Egyptian war-plans from her lover. Amonasro hides 
himself, and Aida has an interview with Radamcs, in 
which he reveals all to her. She persuades him to lly 
with her, when Amonasro shows himself, telling him 
that he has heard all and confessing that he is the 
Ethiopian king. Wliile they are speaking, Amneris 
overtakes and denounces them. Amonasro escapes 
with his daughter, Radamcs remains in the hands of 
Ramphis, the high priest. 

In the fourth act Radamcs is visited in his cell by 
Amneris, who promises to save him from the awful 
death of being buried alive, if he renounces Aida. 
But Radamcs refuses, though she tells him that Aida 
has fled into her country, her father being slain on 
their flight. 

Amneris at length regrets her jealousy and repents, 
but too late ! Nothing can save Radames, and she is 
obliged to see him led into his living tomb. Amneris 
curses the priests, who close the subterranean vaults 
with a rock. Radames, preparing himself for death, 
discovers Aida by his side. She lias found means to 
penetrate into his tomb, resolved to die with her lover. 

While she sinks into his arms. Amneris prays outside 
for Radamcs's peace and eternal hai)piness. 

ALCESTE 

Opera in three acts by Christoph Willibald Gliick. 

Text by Calzabigi. 

A DMETOS, King of Phera?, who is lying danger- 
-^^ ously ill. causes an inquiry to be made of the 
oracle of Apollo as to the issue of his illness, and is 
told in reply that he will die unless some one can be 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 107 

found who would willingly lay down his life for him. 
Although the whole country bewails the threatened 
fate of its sovereign no one comes forward to save 
him at this terrible price. At length Alceste, the de- 
voted wife of the unhappy King, nobly offers to sacri- 
fice herself for his sake. Admetos in consequence is 
restored to health, but Alceste, on the evening of the 
same day, is ordered by the high priest to descend into 
the underworld. In vain the King implores his be- 
loved wife to give up her resolve. As all his remon- 
strances prove fruitless, he determines to die with 
her. The spirits of the underworld have already got 
possession of their victim and are carrying her off. 
Admetos strives to gain admittance, but the entrance 
is barred against him. 

At this moment his friend Heracles appears, who is 
justly celebrated far and near for his prodigious 
strength, a proof of which he will now give, having 
heard what has happened. He consoles the despairing 
King and rushes after the vanishing Alceste. A hot 
contest ensues, but finally Heracles seizes the god of 
death in his strong arms and restores the wife to her 
husband. Apollo, appearing in a cloud, praises the 
courageous friend and the faithful pair, promising 
them everlasting honor. 

L'AMICO FRITZ 

Lyric Comedy in three acts by Pietro Mascagni. 
Text after Erckmann-Chatrian's novel. 

"pRITZ KOBUS, a well-to-do landowner, receives 

the felicitations of his friends on his fortieth 

birthday. At the same time his old friend Rabbi 

David, as consummate a match-maker as Fritz is an 



io8 THE OPERA 

inveterate bachelor, receives from the latter a loan of 
1200 francs, which is to enable a poor girl to marry her 
lover. Friend Fritz gives it very graciously, congrat- 
ulating himself that he is free from marriage bonds. 

He treats his friends to a hearty dinner, in which 
Susel, his tenant's daughter, who comes to present 
her landlord with a nosegay of violets, joins. Fritz 
makes her sit beside him, and for the first time re- 
marks the growing loveliness of the young maiden. 
While they are feasting, a gypsy, Seppel, plays a sere- 
nade in honor of the birthday, which makes a deep 
impression on fair Susel. When the latter has de- 
parted, the joviality of the company increases. Hanczo 
and Friedrich, two friends, laughingly prophesy to the 
indignant Fritz that he will soon be married, and 
David even makes a bet which, should he prove right, 
will make him owner of one of his friend's vineyards. 
At the end of the first act a procession of orphans hail 
the landlord as their benefactor. 

In the second act we find Friend Fritz as guest in 
the house of his tenant. Susel is sedulously engaged 
in selecting flowers and cherries for her landlord, who, 
coming down into the garden, is presented by her with 
flowers. Soon she mounts a ladder, and plucking 
cherries, throws them to Fritz, who is uncertain which 
are the sweeter, the maiden's red lips or the ripe 
cherries which she offers him. In the midst of their 
enjoyment the sound of bells and cracking of whips is 
heard. Fritz's friends enter. He soon takes them 
off for a walk; only old David stays behind with Susel, 
pleading fatigue. Taking occasion of her presenting 
him with a drink of fresh water, he makes her tell him 
the old story of Isaac and Rebecca and is quite satisfied 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 109 

to guess at the state of her feelings by the manner in 
which she relates the simple story. On Fritz's return 
he archly communicates to him that he has found a 
suitable husband for Susel, and that he has her father's 
consent. The disgust and fright which Fritz experi- 
ences at this news reveal to him something of his own 
feelings for the charming maiden. He decides to re- 
turn home at once, and does not even take farewell of 
Susel, who weeps in bitter disappointment. 

In the third act Fritz, at home again, can find no 
peace anywhere. When David tells him that Susel's 
marriage is a decided fact he breaks out, and in his 
passion forbids the marriage. At this moment Susel 
appears, bringing her landlord a basket of fruit. She 
looks pale and sad, and when Fritz sarcastically asks 
her whether she comes to invite him to her wedding, 
she bursts into tears. Then the real state of her heart 
is revealed to him, and with passionate avowal of his 
own love, Fritz takes her to his heart. So David wins 
his wager, which he settles on Susel as a dowry, prom- 
ising at the same time to procure wives before long 
for the two friends standing by. 

ARMIDE 

Grand Heroic Opera in five acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck. 

Text by Quinault. 

T^HE libretto is founded on an episode of Tasso's 
"Jerusalem Delivered." The scene is laid in Da- 
mascus, where during the crusade of the year 1099, the 
crusaders have arrived at the palace and gardens of 
Armide, the Queen and enchantress. Rinaldo, the 
greatest hero in Godfrey of Bouillon's artny, is the only 
one who not only does not stoop to adore the beautiful 



no THE OPERA 

Armide, but on the contrary pursues and hates her. 
He has been banished from Bouillon's presence, 
charged with the rash deed of another knight, who has 
not dared to confess his guilt, and he now wanders 
lonely in the forest. 

Warned by a fellow-warrior, Artemidor, to avoid 
Armide's enchanting presence, he scorns the warning, 
saying that love for a woman is to him a thing un- 
known. In reality, however, Armide is already en- 
snaring him with her sorcery. He presently hears ex- 
quisitely sweet and dreamy melodies, and, finding him- 
self in a soft, green valley, he lies down and falls 
asleep. 

Armide's opportunity has come and she means to 
stab him, but love conquers hatred and the dagger sinks 
from her hand. She vainly invokes the furies of hate ; 
none can change her passion for the hero, and at last, 
ceasing to strive against her tender feelings, she sur- 
renders herself entirely to him, and even succeeds by 
her charms and her devotion in enthralling him. Mean- 
while Bouillon has sent two of his knights, Ubalt and a 
Danish warrior, to recall Rinaldo to his duty. They 
are detained by Armide's witchery; the Danish knight 
meets a demon, wlio has taken his bride's face and ten- 
derly calls' him to her, but Ubalt destroys the charm 
and both succeed in approaching Rinaldo, who, his 
love-dream dissipated by the call of honor, resolves to 
return to the army with his companions. In vain 
Armide tries to change his resolution. In despair she 
curses him and her love, but being unable to kill the 
man she loves, she suffers him to go away and turns 
her beautiful palace and gardens into a desert. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE iii 

UN BALLO IN MASCHERA 

Lyric Drama in five acts by Giuseppe Verdi. 

Text by Piave. 

'T^HE libretto is almost identical with Auber's "Ballo 
-*• in Maschera/' which follows. 

Count Richard, governor of Boston, is adored by 
the people but hated by the noblemen, who resolve 
upon his death. He loves Amelia, the wife of his 
secretary and best friend Rene, who in vain tries to 
warn him of the plots of his enemies, but who faithful- 
ly watches over his safety. 

An old sorceress of negro blood, Ulrica, is to be 
banished by the decree of the high judge, but Richard's 
page Oscar speaks in her favor, and the Count decides 
to see her himself and test her tricks. He invites his 
lords to accompany him to the sibyl's dwelling, and or- 
ders Oscar to bring him a fisherman's disguise. His 
enemies, Samuel and Tom, follow him. 

The second act shows Ulrica in her cottage seated at 
a table, conjuring Satan. A crowd of people are 
around her, among them Richard in disguise. A sailor, 
Sylvan, advances first to hear his fate, and while Ul- 
rica is prophesying that better days await him, Richard 
slips a roll of gold with a scroll into Sylvan's pocket 
and so makes the witch's words true. Sylvan, search- 
ing in his pockets, finds the gold and reads the inscrip- 
tion on the scroll : "Richard to his dear officer Sylvan," 
and all break out into loud praises of the clever sibyl. 
A short while after a servant announces Amelia, and 
the sorceress, driving the crowd away, ushers her in, 
while Richard conceals himself. He listens with de- 
light to the confession of her sinful love for himself, 



112 THE OPERA 

against which she asks for a draught, which might 
enable her to banish it from her heart. Ulrica advises 
her to pluck a magic herb at midnight, which g^ows in 
the fields where the criminals are executed. Amelia 
shudders but promises to do as she is bidden, while 
Richard secretly vows to follow and protect her. 
Amelia departs and the people flock in again. Richard 
is the first to ask what is his fate. The sibyl reluc- 
tantly tells him that his life is to be destroyed by the 
first person who shall touch his hand on this very day. 
Richard vainly offers his hand to the bystanders, they 
all recoil from him, when suddenly his friend Rene 
comes in, and heartily shakes Richard's outstretched 
hand. This Seems to break the spell, for everybody 
knows Rene to be the Count's dearest friend, and now 
believes the oracle to be false. Nevertheless Ulrica, 
who only now recognizes the Count, warns him once 
more against his enemies, but he laughs at her, and 
shows the sorceress the verdict of her banishment, 
which, however, he has canceled. Full of gratitude 
Ulrica joins in the universal song of praise, sung by 
the people to their faithful leader. 

The third act opens on the ghostly field where Ame- 
lia is to look for the magic herb. She is frozen with 
horror, believing that she sees a ghost rise before her. 
Richard now turns up, and breaks out into passionate 
words, entreating her to acknowledge her love for 
him. She does so, but implores him at the same time 
not to approach her, and to remain true to his friend. 
While they speak Rene surprises them. He has fol- 
lowed Richard to save him from his enemies, who are 
waiting to kill him. Richard wraps himself in his 
friend's cloak, after having taken Rene's promise to 



HISTORY AND GUIDE "3 

lead the veiled lady to the gates of the town without 
trying to look at her. Rene swears, but fate wills it 
otherwise, for hardly has Richard departed, when the 
conspirators throng in, and enraged at finding only the 
friend, try to tear the veil off the lady's face. Rene 
guards her with his sword, but Amelia springing be- 
tween the assailants lets fall her veil, and reveals her 
face to her husband and to the astonished men, thereby 
bringing shame and bitter mockery on them both. 
Rene, believing himself betrayed by wife and friend, 
asks the conspirators to meet him in his own house on 
the following morning, and swears to avenge the sup- 
posed treachery. 

In the fourth act in his own house Rene bids his 
wife prepare herself for death. He disbelieves in her 
protest of innocence, but at length, touched by her 
misery, he allows her to take a last farewell of her son. 
When she is gone, he resolves rather to kill the seducer 
than his poor weak wife. When the conspirators enter 
he astonishes them by his knowledge of their dark de- 
signs, but they wonder still more when he offers to 
join them in their evil purpose. As they do not agree 
who it shall be that is to kill Richard, Rene makes his 
wife draw the lot from a vase on the table. The 
chosen one is her own husband. At this moment Os- 
car enters with an invitation to a masked ball from the 
court. Rene accepts, and the conspirators decide to 
seize the opportunity to put their foe to death. They 
are to wear blue dominos with red ribbons. Their pass- 
word is "death." 

The next scene shows a richly decorated ballroom. 
Rene vainly tries to find out the Count's disguise, un- 
til it is betrayed to him by the page, who believes that 



114 THE OPERA 

Rene wants to have some fun with his master. Amelia, 
waylaying Richard, implores him to fly, and when he 
disbelieves her warnings, shows him her face. When 
he recognizes her, he tenderly takes her hand, and 
tells her that he too has resolved to conquer his passion, 
and that he is sending her away to England with her 
husband. They are taking a last farewell, but alas! 
fate overtakes Richard in the shape of Rene, who runs 
his dagger through him. The crowd tries to arrest 
the murderer, but the dying Count waves them back, 
and with his last breath tells his unhappy friend that 
his wife is innocent. Drawing forth a document and 
handing it to Rene, the unfortunate man reads the 
Count's order to send them to their native Iknd. Rich- 
ard pardons his misguided friend and dies with a 
blessing on his beloved country. 

BALLO IN MASCHERA, or GUSTAVUS THE THIRD 

Grand Historic Opera in five acts by Daniel F. K Auber. 

Text by Scribe. 

T^lIIS opera has had a curious fate, its historical 
'*' background having excited resistance and given 
rise to scruples. The murder of a king was not thought 
a fit subject for an opera, and so the libretto was 
altered and spoiled. 

The Italians simply changed the names and the scene 
of action ; Verdi composed a new opera from the same 
matter and succeeded admirably ; nevertheless Auber's 
composition is preferred in Germany, Scribe's libretto 
being by far the better, while the music is original and 
vivacious, as well as full of pleasant harmony and fine 
instrumentation. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 115 

The scene is laid in Stockholm in the year 1792. 
Gustavus III, King of Sweden, loves the wife of his 
friend and counselor Ankarstrom, and is loved in re- 
turn, both struggling vainly against this sinful passion. 
Ankarstrom has detected a plot against the King's life, 
and warning him, asks that the traitor be punished, but 
Gustavus refuses to listen, trusting in his people and in 
his friend's fidelity. His minister Kaulbart desires 
him to condemn a sorceress named Arvedson, who is 
said to be able at will by means of certain herbs and 
potions to cause persons to love or hate each other. 
The King refuses to banish the woman -unheard and 
decides to visit her. Ankarstrom tries to dissuade, but 
the King insists, and accordingly goes to Arvedson in 
disguise. During the witch's conjuration Malwina, 
his lady-love, appears, who seeks help from the sor- 
ceress against her forbidden passion. The concealed 
King hears Arvedson tell her to go at midnight and 
gather a herb, which grows on the graves of criminals, 
and triumphant in his knowledge of Malwina's con- 
fessed love, Gustavus decides to follow her there. 

When she has gone, he mockingly orders the witch to 
tell him his fortune, and hears from her that he shall 
be killed by the man who first tenders him his hand. 
Just then Ankarstrom, who comes to protect the King 
against his enemy, enters and they shake hands. 

In the third act Malwina meets the King on the dis- 
mal spot to which she had been directed; but Ankar- 
strom, whose watchful fidelity never suflfers him to be 
far from the King, and who is utterly ignorant of the 
deception being practised upon him, saves the lovers 
from further guilt. After a severe conflict with him- 
self, Gustavus consents to fly in his friend's cloak. 



ii6 THE OPERA 

Ankarstrom having pledged his honor not to ask the 
veiled lady's secret, and to conduct her safely back to 
the city. This plan is frustrated by the conspirators, 
who rush in and are about to attack the King. Mal- 
wina throws herself between him and the combatants, 
and the husband then recognizes in the King's com- 
panion his own wife. Full of indignation he turns 
from her and joins the conspirators, promising to be 
one of them. He swears to kill his unhappy wife, but 
not until another has first fallen. 

In the fourth act the conspirators have a meeting in 
Ankarstrom's house, where they decide to murder the 
King. The lots being cast, the duty to strike the 
death-blow falls on Ankarstrom, and Malwina her- 
self draws the fatal paper. At this moment an invita- 
tion to a masked ball is brought by the King's page 
Oscar, and the conspirators resolve to take advan- 
tage of this opportunity for executing their design. 

In the last act the King, happy to know Malwina 
safe from discovery, resolves to sacrifice his love to 
honor and friendship. He is about to give Ankar- 
strom the proof of his friendship, by naming him gov- 
ernor of Finland, and the minister is to depart with 
his wife on the morning after the ball. Meanwhile the 
King is warned by a missive from an unknown hand 
not to appear at the ball, but he disregards it. He 
meets Malwina at the ball. His page, thinking to do 
the King a service, has betrayed his mask to Ankar- 
strom. Malwina warns the prince, but in vain, for 
while he presents her with the paper which is to send 
her and her husband to their own beloved country, 
Ankarstrom shoots him through the heart. Gustavus 
dies, pardoning his murderer. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 117 

DER BARRIER VON BAGDAD 

(The Barber of Bagdad) 

Q>inic Opera in two acts by Peter Cornelius. 

npHE scene takes place in Bagdad, in the house of a 
•^ wealthy young Mussulman called Nureddin. He 
is lying on a couch, surrounded by his servants, who 
think him dying. But it is only the flame of love 
which devours his strength and deprives him of all 
energy. As soon as Bostana, an old relative and com- 
panion of his lady-love, appears, in order to tell him 
that Margiana, his adored, is willing to receive him, 
Nureddin forgets his illness and only longs for the 
promised interview. The ensuing duet between him 
and Bostana, wherein she gives instruction about time 
and hour of the rendezvous, is delightfully fresh and 
piquant. 

As Nureddin has neglected his personal appearance 
during his malady, his first wish is for a barber, who 
is speedily sent to him by Bostana. This old worthy, 
Abul Hassan Ali Ebe Bekar, the barber, makes him 
desperate by his vain prattle. Having solemnly saluted 
to Nureddin, he warns him not to leave the house, as 
his horoscope tells that his life is in danger. The 
young man not heeding him, Abul Hassan begins to 
enumerate all his talents as astrologer, philosopher, etc. 
When Nureddin orders him to begin his shaving he re- 
lates the fate of his six brothers, who all died before 
him and always of love. At last Nureddin's patience 
giving away, he calls his servants in to throw the old 
dotard out of doors, but Abul drives them all back. 
Nureddin tries to pacify him with flattery and finally 
succeeds. 



ii8 THE OPERA 

Now Abul is curious, as all barbers are, and having 
heard Nureddin's sighs, he determines to find out all 
about the young man's love. This scene is most ludi- 
crous, when Abul sings his air "Margiana," which 
name he has heard from Nureddin's lips, and the latter 
is in despair at being left with only one side of his 
head shaved. This great work done at last, Abul 
wants to accompany the young lover to the house of 
the cadi Baba Mustapha, Margiana's father. Nured- 
din again summons his servants, who begin to surround 
Abul, pretending to doctor him. Nureddin escapes, 
but Abul, after having shaken off the servants, runs 
after him. 

The second act takes place in the cadi*s house. Mar- 
giana is full of sweet anticipation, while her father, 
who has already chosen a husband for his daughter in 
the person of an old friend of his youth, shows her a 
large trunk full of gifts from the old bridegroom. 
Margiana admires them obediently. A musical scene 
of surpassing beauty follows, where we hear the call of 
the muezzin summoning the faithful to prayer. It is 
also the sign for Nureddin to appear. The cadi hur- 
ries to the mosque and Bostana introduces the lover. 
Here ensues a charming love-duet, accompanied, orig- 
inally enough, by a song from the old barber, who 
watches before the house. Suddenly they are inter- 
rupted by cries of alarm, and with dismay they learn 
from Bostana that the cadi has returned to punish a 
slave, who has broken a precious vase. 

Nureddin, unable to escape unobserved, is hidden in 
the big trunk. Meanwhile Abul, having heard the 
slave's cries and mistaking them for Nureddin's, sum- 
mons the latter 's servants and breaks into the cadi's 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 119 

house to avenge his young friend, whom he believes to 
be murdered. Bostana angrily bids him carry away 
the trunk, signifying to him whom she has hidden in 
it, but the cadi intervenes, believing the servants to be 
thieves who want to rob his daughter's treasure. The 
rumor of the murder gradually penetrates the whole 
town ; its inhabitants gather before the house, and the 
appointed wailing-women mingle their doleful lamen- 
tations with the general uproar. At last the Calif 
himself appears in order to settle the quarrel. 

The cadi accuses the barber of theft, while Abul calls 
the cadi a murderer. To throw light upon the matter, 
the Calif orders the trunk to be opened, which is done 
with great hesitation by Margiana. When the lid gives 
way Nureddin is lying in it in a deep swoon. All are 
terrified, believing him to be murdered ; but Abul, ca- 
ressing him, declares that his heart still throbs. The 
Calif bids the barber show his art, and Abul wakens 
Nureddin by the love-song to Margiana. The young 
man revives and the truth dawns upon the deceived 
father's mind. The Calif, a very humane and clement 
prince, feels great sympathy with the beautiful young 
couple, and advises the cadi to let his daughter have 
her treasure, for he had told them himself that it 
was Margiana's treasure that was kept hidden in 
the trunk. 

The cadi consents, while the Calif bids the funny 
barber come to his palace to entertain him with stories, 
and invites all present to the wedding of the betrothed 
pair, to the great satisfaction of the people. The bril- 
liant finale is full of energy, and is especially note- 
worthy on account of its melody. 



I20 THE OPERA 

IL BARBISRE DI SSVIGLIA 

G>mic Opera in two acts t^ Gioachino Antonio Rossini 

Text tQT SterbinL 

/^OUNT ALMAVIVA is enamored of Rosina, the 
^^ ward of Doctor Bartolo. She is most jealously 
guarded by the old man, who wishes to make her his 
own wife. In vain the Count serenades her; she does 
not appear, and he must needs invent some other means 
of obtaining his object. Making the acquaintance of 
the light-hearted and cunning barber Figaro, the latter 
advises him to get entrance into Bartolo's house in the 
guise of a soldier possessing a billet of quartering for 
his lodging. Rosina herself has not failed to hear the 
sweet love-songs of the Count, known to her only 
under the simple name of Lindoro ; and with southern 
passion, and the light-heartedness which characterizes 
all the persons who figure in this opera, but which is 
not to be mistaken for frivolity, Rosina loves her nice 
lover and is willing to be his own. Figaro has told her 
of Almaviva's love and in return she gives him a note, 
which she has written in secret. But the old Doctor is 
a sly fox, he has seen the inky little finger, and deter- 
mines to keep his eyes open. 

When the Count appears in the guise of a half- 
drunken dragoon, the Doctor sends Rosina away, and 
tries to put the soldier out of the house, pretending to 
have a license against all billets. The Count resists, 
and while Bartolo seeks for his license, makes love to 
Rosina, but after the Doctor's return there arises such 
an uproar that all the neighbors and finally the guards 
appear, who counsel the Count to retire for once. 

In the second act the Count gains entrance to Bar- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 121 

tolo's house as a singing-master, who is deputed to give 
a lesson instead of the fever-stricken Basilio. Of 
course the music-lesson is turned into a love-lesson. 

When all seems to be going well, the real maestro, 
Basilio, enters and all but frustrates their plans. With 
gold and promises Figaro bribes him to retreat, and 
the lovers agree to flee on the coming night. 

Almost at the last moment the cunning of Bartolo 
hinders the projected elopement. He shows a letter, 
which Rosina has written, and makes Rosina believe 
that her lover, whom she only knows as Lindoro, in 
concert with Figaro is betraying her to the Count. 
Great is her joy when she detects that Lindoro and 
Count Almaviva are one and the same person, and 
that he loves her as truly as ever. They bribe the old 
notary, who has been sent for by Bartolo to arrange his 
own (Bartolo's) wedding with Rosina. Bartolo signs 
the contract of marriage, with Figaro as witness, and 
detects too late that he has been duped, and that he has 
himself united the lovers. At last he submits with 
pretty good grace to the inevitable, and contents him- 
self with Rosina's dowry, which the Count generously 
transfers to him. 

DIE BEIDEN SCHUTZEN 
(The Two Guardsmen) 

Comic Opera in three acts by Gustav Albert Lortzing. 
Text adapted from the French. 

nnHE scene is in a little country town, where we 
^ find Busch, a wealthy innkeeper, making prepara- 
tions for the arrival of his only son. The young man 
had entered a grenadier regiment at the age of sixteen, 
ten years before, so the joyful event of his home-corn- 




jng is looked forward to with pleasure by fais father , 
and sister Suschen, but with anxie^ by a friend of 
hers, Caroline, to whom young Buach had been af- 
fianced before joining his regiment 

Enter two young grenadiers from the regiment on 
leave, the younger of whom falls in lore with Siis- 
chen at first sight. However, as tix dder grenadier, 
Schwarzbart, dolefully remarks, tbey are both almost 
penniless, and he reflects how he can possibly help 
them in their need. His meditations are interrupted 
by the arrival of the landlord, who, seeing the two 
knapsacks and recognizing one of them as that of his 
son, naturally supposes the owner to be his offspring, 
in which belief he is confirmed by Schwarzbart, who is 
induced to practise this deceit, partly by the desire of 
getting a good dinner and the means of quenching his 
insatiable thirst, partly by the hope of something turn- 
ing up in favor of his companion in arms, Wilhelm. 
As a matter of fact the knapsack does not belong to 
Wilhelm at all. On leaving the inn at which the ban- 
quet following the wedding of one of their comrades 
had been held, the knapsacks had inadvertently been ex- 
changed much to Wilhelm's dismay, his own contain- 
ing a lottery ticket which, as he has just learned, had 
won a great prize. The supposed son is of course re- 
ceived with every demonstration of affection by his 
fond parent; but, though submitting with a very good 
grace to the endearments of his supposed sister — the 
maiden with whom he has fallen in love so suddenly — 
he resolutely declines being hugged and made much of 
by the old landlord, this double part being entirely dis- 
tasteful to his straightforward nature. Nor does his 
''affianced bride, the dau^iter of the bailiff, fare any 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 123 

better, his affections being placed elsewhere, and their 
bewilderment is only somewhat appeased by Schwarz- 
bart's explanation that his comrade suffers occasional- 
ly from weakness of the brain. 

In the next act Peter, a youth of marvelous stupidity, 
a cousin of the bailiff, presents himself in a woeful 
plight, to which he has been reduced by some soldiers 
at the same wedding festivities, and shortly after Gus- 
tav, the real son, appears on the scene. He is a manly 
fellow, full of tender thoughts for his home. Great is 
his surprise at finding himself repulsed by his own 
father, who, not recognizing him, believes him to be an 
impostor. All the young man's protestations are of no 
avail, for in his knapsack are found the papers of a 
certain Wilhelm Stark for whom he is now mistaken. 
When silly Peter perceives him he believes him to be 
the grenadier who had so ill-treated him at the wed- 
ding, though in reality it was Schwarzbart. Gustav 
is shut up in a large garden-house of his father's; the 
small town lacking a prison. 

In the third act the magistrate has found out that 
Wilhelm's papers prove him to be the bailiff's son, 
being the offspring of his first love. He had been with 
a clergyman, and after the death of the bailiff's wife 
was vainly sought for by his father. Of course this 
changes everything for the prisoner, who is suddenly 
accosted graciously by his gruff guardian Barsch, and 
does not know what to make of his mysterious hints. 

Meanwhile Caroline's heart has spoken for the 
stranger who had addressed her so courteously and 
chivalrously; she feels that, far from being an im- 
postor, he is a loyal and true-hearted young fellow and 
therefore decides to liberate him. At the same time 



124 THE OPERA 

enters Wilhelm with Schwarzbart, seeking Siischen; 
Peter slips in for the same reason, seeking her, for 
Siischen is to be his bride. Gustav (the prisoner), 
hearing footsteps, blows out the candle in order to save 
Caroline from being recognized, and so they all run 
about in the dark, playing hide-and-seek in an infinitely 
droll manner. At last the bailiflF, having heard that 
his son has been found, comes up with the innkeeper. 
The whole mystery is cleared up, and both sons em- 
brace their respective fathers and their brides. 

LA BOHfeME 

Opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini. 
Text by Giacosa and lUica. 

T^HE first act opens in a garret in Paris, in about 
^ 1830, and shows us Marcel the painter and Ru- 
dolph the poet, from whose Bohemian mode of life the 
opera derives its name, at work. Alas ! there is no fire 
in the grate, and the cold is so intense that Marcel is 
about to break up a chair for firewood. 

Rudolph prevents him and kindles a fire with his 
manuscript instead, crying: "My drama shall warm 
us." The second act of the manuscript follows the 
first one, by the blaze of which the artists joyfully 
warm their half-frozen hands. The paper is quickly 
burned to ashes, but before they have time to lament 
this fact the door is opened by two boys bringing food, 
fuel, wine, and even money. Schaunard, a musician, 
brings up the rear, to whom neither Marcel nor Ru- 
dolph pays the least attention. 

It seems that an Englishman engaged Schaunard to 
sing to his parrot till it dies, but after three days 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 125 

Schaunard becomes so heartily sick of his task that 
he poisons the bird and runs away. 

He suggests that they all go out for supper, it being 
Christmas eve. They decide to drink some of the wine 
first, but they are interrupted by the landlord, who de- 
mands his quarter's rent. He soon imbibes so much 
of the wine that he becomes intoxicated and corre- 
spondingly jovial. After being joked about his love 
adventures he finds himself standing outside the door 
in pitch, darkness. The others meanwhile prepare to 
go out to supper, with the exception of Rudolph, who 
remains behind to finish a manuscript article. 

A pretty young girl soon knocks, carrying a candle 
and a key. He begs her to come in and be seated, and 
she swoons while refusing. He revives her with some 
wine, and she goes off with her relighted candlestick, 
but forgets her key, which she has dropped in her 
swoon, and for which she at once comes back. A draft 
blows out the candle and Rudolph keeps the key, 
while pretending to look for it. Suddenly he clasps 
the girl's hand and he and she exchange confidences, 
while confessing their love for each other. 

When Rudolph's friends call him he invites Mimi, 
who is a flower-girl, to accompany him. 

The second act takes place before the well-known 
Cafe Momus in the Quartier Latin, where Rudolph 
and Mimi join Schaunard and Marcel. 

Rudolph has bought her a pink bonnet and introduces 
her to his friends, the fourth of whom is CoUine the ^ 
philosopher. 

The party eat and drink amid the noise and bustle 
of the fair, when Marcel suddenly sees his old love 
Musette, gorgeously arrayed and leaning upon the arm 



126 THE OPERA 

of an old man. Marcel turns pale, while his friends 
make fun of the fantastic couple, much to Musette's 
anger. She at once begins to make overtures to Glar- 
ed, who feigns utter indifference. Musette's old ad- 
mirer orders supper, in the hope of pacifying her, while 
she addresses Marcel in fond whispers. The others 
watch the scene with amusement, but Rudolph devotes 
all his attentions to Mimi. Musette suddenly com- 
plains that her shoes hurt her and sends her aged lover 
off for another pair. Then she proceeds to make 
friends with Marcel. When the waiter brings the bill. 
Musette tells him that the old gentleman will settle for 
everything after his return. 

The party profit by the approach of the patrol, who 
causes a turmoil, in the midst of which they all escape. 
Alcindor, the old admirer, finds only two bills await- 
ing him when he returns with the new shoes. Musette 
has been carried away shoeless by her old friend. 

The third act takes place on the outskirts of Paris 
called "Barriere de TEnfer" (The Tollgate of Hell). 
To the left there is a tavern, over which hangs Marcel's 
picture "The Crossing of the Red Sea," as a signboard. 
The day is breaking, the customhouse officials are still 
sleeping around the fire, but the scavengers coming 
from Chantilly soon awake them. 

The gate is opened to admit milk-women, carters, 
peasants with baskets, and finally Mimi. 

She looks wretched and is at once seized with a ter- 
rible fit of coughing. As soon as she can speak, she 
asks the name of the tavern, where she knows Marcel 
is working. When he emerges from the inn she im- 
plores his help, saying Rudolph is killing her by his 
insane jealousy. Marcel promises to intervene, and 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 127 

when Rudolph comes out of the tavern Mimi nides 
behind the trees. 

She hears Rudolph say she is doomed to die, and 
coughs and sobs so violently that her presence is re- 
vealed. 

Rudolph remorsefully takes the poor weak creature 
in his arms, and they decide to make it up. 

Their reconciliation is interrupted by Marcel, who is 
upbraiding Musette. This flighty damsel has one lover 
after another, although she really loves Marcel alone. 
The fourth and last act takes us back to the gar- 
ret, where Marcel and Rudolph are alone. Musette 
and Mimi having left them. They each kiss mementos 
of their lady-loves, when Schaunard appears with 
bread and herring. Gaiety is soon restored and a regu- 
lar froHc takes place. Musette enters in a state of 
great agitation, to say that Mimi, who is in the last 
stage of consumption, is there and wants to see Ru- 
dolph once more. The latter carries her on the little 
bed. As there is nothing in the house with which 
to revive her, Musette decides to sell her earrings in 
order to procure medicines, a doctor, and a muff, for 
which Mimi longs. 

Schaunard also goes out, so that the lovers are left 
alone. A touching scene follows, when Rudolph 
shows Mimi the pink bonnet he has cherished all the 
time. Musette and Marcel soon return with medicines 
and a muff, upon which Mimi sinks into the sleep that 
knows no awakening, with a contented smile. 



128 THE OPERA 

THE BOHEMIAN GIRL 

Opera in three acts by Midiael William Balfe. 

Text V Bunn. 

HTHE opera opens with a scene on Q>unt Amheim's 
**■ grounds near Presburg. Count Amheim's re- 
tainers are waiting to accompany him to the hunt. He 
appears with his foppish nephew Florestein, who is 
afraid of a gun. He bids farewell to his little daugh- 
ter Arline, and she goes up a mountain path with Buda, 
her nurse, and Florestein. Thaddeus, a Polish exile, 
enters exhausted from pursuit. Gypsies appear, head- 
ed by Devilshoof. They attempt to rob Thaddeus, but 
after some parley he decides to join their band. Devils- 
hoof takes everything he has except his commission, 
but gives him a ragged gypsy dress in return. He 
mingles with the gypsies just as a troop of soldiers 
come to apprehend him. Huntsmen return in excite- 
ment; Florestein appears, terrified. Arline has been 
attacked by a wild animal. Thaddeus rescues her, 
and the Count in gratitude invites him to a feast, 
during which he refuses to drink to the Emperor. He 
is repudiated by all, but Devilshoof comes to his aid. 
As a reward for the rescue of Arline the Count offers 
the exile a purse, which he proudly refuses. Thaddeus 
and Devilshoof are imprisoned, but the latter escapes 
and carries off Arline. He is seen by the Count and 
his guests crossing a frail bridge between two rocks 
with the child in his arms. He breaks down the bridge 
and disappears. 

The second act reveals a street in Presburg twelve 
years later. We see the tent of the gypsy Queen. Ar- 
line sleeps while Thaddeus keeps watch. Devilshoof 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 129 

and others enter with a new project to rob Florestein, 
who is flushed with wine. They secure his valuables, 
but the Queen makes them return everything. Flore- 
stein is solicitous about a medallion which has disap- 
peared and which is an heirloom of great value. Devils- 
hoof has secreted it. Arline awakens and tells Thad- 
deus her dream in the aria **I dreamt I dwelt in marble 
halls.'* Thaddeus and Arline declare their love. The 
Queen, through jealousy, is angry, but, ridiculed by 
Devilshoof, joins their hands according to the gypsy 
rite. 

The scene shifts to another street where a fair is 
being held. Count Arnheim and Florestein appear. 
Florestein compliments Arline, which amuses her, un- 
til he tries to kiss her. when she slaps him vigorously. 
The Queen, recognizing him, gives Arline the stolen 
medallion, so that she will be accused of robbing him. 
This plan succeeds, but Thaddeus and the gypsies pro- 
tect Arline. Nevertheless, she and Thaddeus are im- 
prisoned. 

The final scene of the act shows Count Amheim's 
apartments with a portrait of Arline in her childhood. 
The Count enters sadly, and gazes at the portrait. He 
•sings **The heart bowed down." The captain of the 
guard reports Arline's capture. She is brought in and 
pleads her innocence, but in her humiliation is about 
to stab herself. The Count, while stopping her, ob- 
serves a scar by which he recognizes her as his daugh- 
ter, and Thaddeus, who enters at that moment, as her 
preserver. 

The last act takes place in the Count's castle. Ar- 
line, in rich attire, is sad and lonely. She looks with 
longing at her gypsy dress. Devilshoof boldly enters 



I30 THE OPERA 

the room and begs her to rejoin the tribe. Thaddeus 
appears at the window. He sings "Then you'll re- 
member me." The two men hide themselves as the 
guests enter. The Queen of the gypsies suddenly ap- 
pears and tells the Count that Thaddeus is concealed 
in his daughter's room. The Count denounces his 
daughter. Thaddeus comes from his hiding-place, and 
declares Arline innocent. He proclaims his identity as 
a Polish noble. The Count is reassured, but the Queen 
tries to kill Thaddeus, and Devilshoof, while attempt- 
ing to snatch the rifle from her hands, accidentally 
shoots her. The joy of the lovers is too great to be 
marred, and all ends happily. 

CARMEN 

Opera in four acts by Georges Bizet 
Text by Meilhac and Halevy, founded on the story of Prosper 

Merimee. 

/^ ARMEN, the heroine, is a Spanish gypsy, fickle 
^^ and wayward, endowed with all the wild graces 
of her nation. She is adored by her people, and so it is 
not to be wondered at that she has many of the strong- 
er sex at her feet. She tries to charm Don Jose, a 
brigadier of the Spanish army ; of course he is one out 
of many; she soon grows tired of him, and awakens 
his jealousy by a thousand caprices and cruelties. 

Don Jose is betrothed to the sweet and lovely Mi- 
caela, waiting for him at home, but she is forgotten as 
soon as he sees the proud gypsy. 

Micaela seeks him out, bringing to him the portrait 
and the benediction of his mother, aye, even her kiss, 
which she gives him with blushes. His tender- 
ness is gone, however, so far as Micaela is concerned, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 131 

as soon as he casts one look into the lustrous eyes 
of Carmen. This passionate creature has involved her- 
self in a quarrel and wounded one of her companions, 
a laborer in a cigarette manufactory. She is to be 
taken to prison, but Don Jose lets her off, promising to 
meet her in the evening at an inn kept by a man named 
Lillas Pastia, where they are to dance the segue- 
dilla. 

In the second act we find them there together, with 
the whole band of gypsies. Don Jose, more and more 
infatuated by Carmen's charms, is willing to join the 
vagabonds, who are at the same time smugglers. He 
accompanies them in a dangerous enterprise of this 
kind, but no sooner has he submitted to sacrifice love 
and honor for the gypsy than she begins to tire of his 
attentions. Jose has pangs of conscience, he belongs 
to another sphere of society and his feelings are of a 
softer kind than those of nature's unruly child. She 
transfers her affections to a bullfighter named Esca- 
millo, another of her suitors, who returns her love more 
passionately. A quarrel ensues between the two rivals. 
Escamillo's knife breaks and he is about to be killed by 
Don Jose, when Carmen intervenes, holding back his 
arm. Don Jose, seeing that she has duped him, now 
becomes her deadly foe, filled with sudden hatred 
and longing for revenge. 

Micaela, the tender-hearted maiden, who follows him 
everywhere like a guardian angel, reminds him of his 
lonely mother, everybody advises him to let the fickle 
Carmen alone — Carmen who never loved the same man 
for more than six weeks. But in vain, till Micaela 
tells him of the dying mother asking incessantly for 
her son ; then at last he consents to go with her, but 



132 THE OPERA 

not without wild imprecations on his rival and his 
faithless love. 

In the fourth act we find ourselves in Madrid. There 
is to be a bullfight ; Escamillo, its hero, has invited the 
whole company to be present in the circus. 

Don Jose appears there too, trying for the last time 
to regain his bride. Carmen, though warned by a fel- 
low-gypsy, Frasquita, knows no fear. She meets her 
old lover outside the arena, where he tries hard to 
touch her heart. He kneels at her feet, vowing never 
to forsake her and to be one of her own people, but 
Carmen, though wayward, is neither a coward nor a 
liar, and boldly declares that her affections are given to 
the bullfighter, whose triumphs are borne to their ears 
on the shouts of the multitude. Almost beside himself 
with love and rage, Jose seizes her hand and attempts 
to drag her away, but she escapes from him, and throw- 
ing the ring, Jose's gift, at his feet, rushes to the door 
of the arena. He overtakes her, however, and just as 
the trumpets announce Escamillo's victory, in a perfect 
fury of despair he stabs her through the heart, and 
the victorious bullfighter finds his beautiful bride a 
corpse. 

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA 
(Rustic Chivalry) 

Opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni. 
Text by Targioni-Tozzetti and Menasci, after Verga's drama. 

TPHE following are the very simple facts of the 

•*■ story, which takes place in a Sicilian village. 

Turridu, a young peasant, has loved and wooed Lola 

before entering military service. At his return he finds 

the flighty damsel married to the wealthy carrier Alfio, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 133 

who glories in his pretty wife and treats her very well. 
Turridu tries to console himself with another young 
peasant girl, Santuzza, who loves him ardently, and to 
whom he has promised marriage. 

The opera only begins at this point. 

Lola, the coquette, cannot bear to know that her 
former sweetheart should love another woman. She 
flirts with him, and before the curtain has been raised 
after the overture Turridu's love-song is heard for 
Lola, who grants him a rendezvous in her own house. 

This excites Santuzza's wildest jealousy. She com- 
plains to Turridu's mother, who vainly tries to soothe 
her. Then she has a last interview with Turridu, who 
is just entering the church. She reproaches him first 
with his treachery, then implores him not to forsake 
her and leave her dishonored. 

But Turridu remains deaf to all entreaty, and flings 
her from him. At last, half mad through her lover's 
stubbornness, Santuzza betrays him and Lola to Alfio, 
warning the latter that his wife has proved false. After 
church Alfio and Turridu meet in mother Lucia's tav- 
ern. Alfio refusing to drink of Turridu's wine, the 
latter divines that the husband knows all. The men 
and women leave while the two adversaries after Sicil- 
ian custom embrace each other, Alfio biting Turridu 
in the ear, which indicates mortal challenge. Turridu, 
deeply repenting his folly, as well as his falsehood 
toward poor Santuzza, recommends her to his mother. 
He hurries into the garden, where Alfio expects him. 
A few minutes later his death is announced by the peas- 
ants, and Santuzza falls back in a dead swoon; with 
which the curtain closes over the tragedy. 



134 THE OPERA 

LB CID 

Lyric Drama in three acts by Peter Comeliua. 

T^HE scene is laid in Burgos in Castile in the year 
^ 1064. The first act opens with a large concourse 
of people, assembled to celebrate the victory of Ruy 
Diaz over the Moors. 

In the midst of their rejoicings a funeral march 
announces Chimene, Countess of Lozan, whose father 
has been slain by Diaz. While she wildly invokes the 
King's help against the hero the latter enters, enthusi- 
astically greeted by the people, who adore in him their 
deliverer from the sword of the infidels. 

He justifies himself before King Fernando, relating 
with quiet dignity how he killed Count Lozan in open 
duel to avenge his old father, whose honor the Count 
had grossly attacked. Nevertheless he is ready to de- 
fend himself against anybody who is willing to fight 
for Donna Chimene, and for this purpose he throws 
down his glove, which is taken up by Alvar Farnez, his 
friend and companion in arms, who is madly in love 
with Chimene. While they are preparing for the duel 
the Bishop Luyn Calvo, an uncle of Diaz, intervenes, 
entreating his nephew to desist from further bloodshed 
and to surrender his sword Tizona into the mediator's 
hands. After a hard struggle with himself the hero, who 
secretly loves Chimene, yields, and hands his sword to 
Calvo, who at once offers it to Chimene, thereby giving 
the defenseless hero into her hands. 

Exultingly she swears to take vengeance on Diaz, 
who stands motionless, looking down with mournful 
dignity on the woman whom he loves and who seems to 
hate him so bitterly. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 135 

In the midst of this scene the war-cry is heard. 
The enemy has again broken into the country and has 
already taken and burned the fortress of Belforad. 
All crowd around Diaz, beseeching him to save them. 
While he stands mute and deprived of his invincible 
sword, Chimene, mastering her own grief at the sight 
of her country's distress, lays down Tizona at Fernan- 
do*s feet. Ruy Diaz now receives his sword back from 
the hands of the King, and brandishing it high above 
his head he leads the warriors forth to freedom or 
death. 

The second act takes place in Chimene's castle. 
Her women try to beguile their mistress's sorrow by 
songs, and when they see her soothed to quiet they 
retire noiselessly. But hardly does she find herself 
alone than pain and grief overcome her again. She 
longs to avenge her father's death on Diaz, and yet 
deep in her heart there is a feeling of great admiration 
for him. In vain she wrestles with her feelings, in- 
voking the Almighty's help to do what is right. In this 
mood Alvar finds her. He once more assures her of 
his devotion and repeats that he will fight with Diaz 
as soon as the country is freed from the enemy. He 
leaves her, and night comes on. In the darkness Diaz 
steals in, for he cannot resist his heart's desire to see 
Chimene once more before the battle. In the uncertain 
rays of the moonlight she at first mistakes him for 
her father's ghost, but when he pronounces her name 
she recognizes him, and violently motions him away, 
but he falls on his knee and pours out his hopeless love. 
At last his passion overcomes all obstacles ; she forgives 
him, and at his entreaty she calls him by his name, 
saying: "Ruy Diaz, be victorious!" Full of joy he 



136 THE OPERA 

blesses her and goes to join his men» who are heard 
in the distance odling him to lead them against ttie 
enemy. 

The third act is played once more in Burgos. 

Diaz has been victorious. The whole army of cap- 
tives defiles before the throne, and a rejoicing assem- 
blage of nobles and people does homage to the King. 
Even the Moorish kings bend the knee voluntarily; 
they have been unfortunate, but they have been con- 
quered by the greatest hero of the world; they are 
conquered by "the Cid"! When the King asks them 
what the name means, they tell him that its signification 
is "Master" ; full of enthusiasm, all around adopt this 
name for their hero. The Cid will be his title hence- 
forth, immortal as his glorious star ! 

The people loudly call for Diaz to appear, but are 
told that immediately after the battle Alvar had sent 
the hero a challenge. At the same time Alvar enters 
unhurt, and Chimene, who stands near the King with 
her women ready to greet the victor, grows white and 
faint, believing that Diaz has been killed by Alvar. 
She impetuously interrupts the latter, who begins to 
relate the events, and unable to control her feelings any 
longer she pours out her long pent-up love for Diaz, at 
the same time bewailing the slain hero and swearing 
faithfulness to his memory unto death. "He Hves," 
cries Alvar, and at this moment the Cid, as we must 
now call him, appears, stormily hailed by great and 
small. 

Deeply moved he lays down his victorious sword at 
the feet of his King, who embraces him, pronouncing 
him Sire of Saldaja, Cardenja, and Belforad. Then he 
leads him to his lady, who sinks into his arms supreme- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i37 

ly happy. The Bishop blesses the noble pair, and all 
join in his prayer that love may guide them through 
life and death. 

LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN 
(Hoffmann's Tales) 

Fantastic Opera in three acts b^ Jacques Offenbach. 

Text by Barbier. 

'T'HE first scene, a prologue, is laid in Luther's 
-■• famous wine-cellar in Nuremberg. 

The hero of the opera, Hoffmann himself, is there, 
drinking with a number of gay young students, his 
friends. He is in a despondent mood, and when urged 
by his companions to tell them the reason of his de- 
pression he declares himself ready to relate the story 
of his three love adventures, while his friends sit 
round a bowl of flaming strong punch. 

Now the scene changes and the curtain rises on the 
first act. We find Hoffmann in Spalanzani's house. 
This man is a famous physiologist, and Hoffmann has 
entered his house as his pupil in order to make the 
acquaintance of the professor's beautiful daughter 
Olympia, whom he has seen at a distance. 

This daughter is nothing more than an automaton 
that has been manufactured by Spalanzani and his 
friend, the wizard Coppelius. This doll can sing, 
dance, and speak like a human being. Spalanzani 
hopes to become rich by means of this clever work of 
art. As half of Olympia (this is the doll's name) be- 
longs to Coppelius, Spalanzani buys her from him, pay- 
ing him by a draft on the Jew Elias, though he knows 
him to be bankrupt. Hoffmann has been persuaded 



138 THE.OPERA 

by Coppelius to purdiase a pair of spectacles, through 
which he looks at Olyn^a, and taking her for a love- 
ly, living maiden, falls violently in love with her. 

Spalanzani now gives a grand entertainment at which 
he presents his daughter Olympia (the automaton), 
who surprises everybody by her loveliness and fine 
singing. Hoffmann is completely bewitched, and as 
soon as he finds himself alone with her he makes her 
an ardent declaration of love and is not at all dis- 
couraged by her sitting stock-still and only answering 
from time to time a dry little "ja ja." At last he tries 
to embrace her, but as soon as he touches her she 
rises and trips away. 

Hoffmann's friend Niklas finds him in the seventh 
heaven of rapture and vainly tries to tell him the rea- 
son of the beauty's stiffness and heartlessness. 

When the dancing begins Hoffmann engages Olym- 
pia, and they dance on, always faster and faster, until 
Hoffmann sinks down in a swoon, his spectacles being 
broken by the fall. Olympia spins on alone as fast 
as ever and presently dances out of the room, Coche- 
nille vainly trying to stop her. Coppelius now enters in 
a fury, having found out that Spalanzani's draft on 
Elias is worthless. He rushes to the room into which 
Olympia has vanished, and when Hoffmann revives 
he hears a frightful sound of breaking and smashing, 
and Spalanzani bursts in with the news that Coppe- 
lius has broken his valuable automaton. Thus Hoff- 
mann learns that he has been in love with a senseless 
doll. The guests, who now enter, shout with laughter 
at his confusion, while Spalanzani and Coppelius load 
each other with abuse. 

The second act takes place in Giulietta's palace in 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i39 

Venice. Everything breathes joy and love. Both 
Niklas and Hoffmann are courting the beautiful lady. 
Niklas warns his friend against her, but Hoffmann 
only laughs at the idea that he is likely to love a courte- 
zan. The latter is entirely in the hand of the wizard 
Dapertutto, who acts toward Hoffmann as an evil spirit 
under three different names in each of his three love 
affairs. Giulietta has already stolen for him the shad- 
ow of her former lover Schlemihl; now Dapertutto 
wounds her vanity by telling her that Hoffmann has 
spoken disdainfully of her, and makes her promise to 
win the young man's love and by that means to make 
him give her his reflection from a looking-glass. 

She succeeds easily, and there ensues a charming 
love-duet during which they are surprised by the jeal- 
ous Schlemihl. Giulietta tells Hoffmann that her form- 
er lover has the key of her apartments in his pocket, 
she then departs leaving the two lovers and Dapertutto 
alone. When Hoffmann peremptorily demands the key 
from Schlemihl the latter refuses to give it up. The 
result is a duel, for which Dapertutto offers Hoffmann 
his sword. 

After a few passes Schlemihl is killed and Dapertutto 
disappears. A few moments afterward Giulietta's 
gondola passes before the balcony and Hoffmann sees 
her leaning on Dapertutto's arm singing a mocking 
farewell to the poor deserted lover. 

The third act takes place in Rath Krespel's house. 
His daughter Antonia has inherited her mother's gift 
of a beautiful voice, but also her tendency to consump- 
tion. The greatest joy of her life is singing, which, 
however, her father has forbidden, knowing this ex- 
ertion to be fatal to his darling. 



I40 THE OPERA 

She is engaged to be married to Hoffmann, but Kres- 
pel is averse to the marriage, seeing in it another dan- 
ger for his daughter's health, as Hoffmann is musical 
and encourages Antonia to sing. Krespel has forbid- 
den his servant Franz to let anybody see Antonia while 
he goes out of the house, but Franz, who is very deaf, 
misunderstands his master's orders and joyously wel- 
comes his mistress's suitor. A delicate love-scene fol- 
lows, during which Antonia shows her lover that her 
voice is as fine as ever. When they hear Krespel re- 
turning, Antonia retires to her own room, but Hoff- 
mann hides himself in an alcove, determined to learn 
why Antonia is so closely hidden from the world. 

Immediately after the father's return Doctor Mirakel 
enters. Krespel is mortally afraid of this mysterious 
man, as he believes him to have killed his wife with 
drugs, and that now he aims at his daughter's life. 

This Mirakel is a demon who acts as in the two form- 
er instances as Hoffmann's evil genius. From the con- 
versation of the two men Hoffmann learns the secret 
of his bride's dangerous inheritance, and when Mirakel 
has at last been driven out of the room and Krespel 
has left it too, the lovers both come back again. Hoff- 
mann by earnest entreaty succeeds in gaining Anto- 
nia's promise never to sing any more. But when he has 
left, Mirakel returns and by invoking the spirit of her 
mother he goads her on to break her promise. She 
begins to sing and he urges her on, until she sinks back 
exhausted. It is thus that her father and her lover 
find her, and after a few sweet words of farewell she 
dies in their arms. 

The epilogue takes us back to Luther's cellar, where 
Hoffmann's companions are still sitting over their 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 141 

punch, the steam of which forms clouds over their 
heads, while they thank their poor, heart-broken friend 
for his three stories with ringing cheers. 



COSI FAN TUTTE 

Comic Opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
Text by Da Ponte, newly arranged by Schneider and Devrient 

pjON FERNANDO and Don Alvar are betrothed 
*^ to two Andalusian ladies, Rosaura and Isabella. 

They loudly praise their ladies' fidelity, when an old 
bachelor, named Onofrio, pretends that their sweet- 
hearts are not better than other women and accessible 
to temptation. The lovers agree to make the trial and 
promise to do everything which Onofrio dictates. 
Thereupon they announce to the ladies that they are 
ordered to Havana with their regiment, and after a 
tender leave-taking, they depart to appear again in 
another guise, as officers of a strange regiment. Ono- 
frio has won the ladies' maid, Dolores, to aid in the 
furtherance of his schemes, and the officers enter, be- 
ginning at once to make love to Isabella and Rosaura, 
but each, as was before agreed, to the other's affianced. 

Of course the ladies reject them, and the lovers be- 
gin to triumph, when Onofrio prompts them to try 
another temptation. The strangers, mad with love, 
pretend to drink poison in the young ladies' presence. 
Of course these tender-hearted maidens are much ag- 
grieved; they call Dolores, who bids her mistresses 
hold the patients in their arms ; then coming disguised 
as a physician, she gives them an antidote. By this 
clumsy subterfuge they excite the ladies' pity and 
are nearly successful in their foolish endeavors, when 



142 THE OPERA 

Dolores, pitying the cruelly tested women, reveals the 
whole plot to them. 

Isabella and Rosaura now resolve to enter into the 
play. They accept the disguised suitors, and even con- 
sent to a marriage. Dolores appears in the shape of a 
notary, without being recognized by the men. The 
marriage contract is signed, and the lovers disappear to 
return in their true characters, full of righteous con- 
tempt. Isabella and Rosaura make believe to be con- 
science-stricken, and for a long while torment and de- 
ceive their angry bridegrooms. But at last they grow 
tired of teasing, present the disguised Dolores, and 
put their lovers to shame by showing that all was a 
farce. Of course the gentlemen humbly ask their 
pardon, and old Onofrio is obliged to own himself 
beaten. 

CZAR UND ZIMMERMANN 
(Czar and Carpenter) 

Comic Opera in three acts by Gustav Albert Lortzing. 

pETER THE GREAT of Russia has taken service 
•*• on the wharfs of Saardam as simple ship-carpen- 
ter under the assumed name of Peter Michaelov. 
Among his companions is another Peter, named Iva- 
nov, a Russian renegade, who has fallen in love with 
Marie, the niece of the burgomaster Van Bett. 

The two Peters being countrymen and fearing dis- 
covery, have become friendly, but Ivanov, instinctively 
feeling his friend*s superiority, is jealous of him, and 
Marie, a little coquette, nourishes his passion. 

Meanwhile the ambassadors of France and England, 
each of whom wishes for a special connection with 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 143 

the Czar of Russia, have discovered where he must be, 
and both bribe the conceited simpleton Van Bett, who 
tries to find out the real Peter. 

He assembles the people, but there are many Peters 
among them, though only two strangers. He asks 
them whence they come, then takes aside Peter Ivanov, 
cross-questioning him in vain as to what he wishes to 
know. 

At last, being aware of Peter's love for Marie, he 
gives him some hope of gaining her hand, and obtains 
in exchange a promise from the young man to confess 
his secret in presence of the foreign nobleman. The 
cunning French ambassador, the Marquis de Chateau- 
neuf, has easily found out the Czar and gained his 
purpose, while the phlegmatic English lord, falsely 
directed by the burgomaster, is still in transaction with 
Ivanov. All this takes place during a rural festivity, 
where the Marquis, notwithstanding the claims upon 
his attention, finds time to court pretty Marie, exciting 
Ivanov's hate and jealousy. 

Ivanov with difficulty plays the role of Czar, which 
personage he is supposed to be both by Lord Syndham 
and Van Bett. He well knows that he deserves pun- 
ishment if he is found out on either side. The burgo- 
master, getting more and more confused, and fearing 
himself surrounded by spies and cheats, examines one 
of the strangers after the other, and is of course con- 
founded to hear their highflown names ; at last he seizes 
the two Peters, but is deterred from his purpose by 
the two ambassadors. They are now joined by a third, 
the Russian General Lefort, who comes to call back 
his sovereign to his own country. In the third act 
Van Bett has prepared a solemn demonstration of 



144 THE OPERA 

fealty for the supposed Czar whom he still mistakes 
for the real one, while the real Czar has found means 
to go on board of his ship with the Marquis and Lefort. 
Before taking farewell Czar Peter promises a pass- 
port to Ivanov, who is very dubious as to what will be- 
come of him. Meanwhile Van Bett approaches the 
Czar with his procession to do homage, but during 
his long and confused speech cannon-shots are heard 
and an usher announces that Peter Michaelov is about 
to sail away with a large crew. The background opens 
and shows the port with the Czar's ship. Everybody 
shouts "Long live the Czar!" and Ivanov, opening 
the paper which his high-bom friend left to' him, 
reads that the Czar grants him pardon for his deser- 
tion and bestows upon him a considerable sum of 
money. 

LA DAME BLANCHE 

Comic Opera in three acts by Francois Adrien Boieldieu. 

Text by Scribe. 

TpiIE scene is laid in Scotland, the plot being taken 
■^ from two of Sir Walter Scott's novels, "The 
Monastery" and "Guy Mannering." 

George Drown, the hero of the opera, a young lieu- 
tenant in the English service, visits Scotland. He is 
hospitably received by a tenant of the late Count 
Avenel, who has been dead for some years. When 
he arrives the baptism of the tenant's youngest child 
is just being celebrated, and seeing that they lack a 
godfather, he good-naturedly consents to take the va- 
cant place. 

Seeing the old castle of the Avenels, he asks for its 
history, and the young wife Jenny tells him that ac- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i45 

cording to the traditions of the place it is haunted by 
a ghost, as is the case in almost every old castle. 
This apparition is called the White Lady, but unlike 
other ghosts she is good, protecting her sex against 
fickle men. All the people around believe firmly in her 
and pretend to have seen her themselves. In the castle 
is a statue which bears the name of this benevolent 
genius, and in it the old lord has hidden treasures. His 
steward Gavcston, a rogue, who has taken away the 
only son of the Count in the child's earliest days, 
brings the castle with all its acres to public sale, hoping 
to gain it for himself. 

He has a charming ward, named Anna. It is she 
who sometimes plays the part of the White Lady. She 
has summoned the young tenant Dickson, who is sin- 
cerely devoted to her, into the castle, and the young 
man, though full of fear, yet dares not disobey the 
ghostly commands. George Brown, thirsting for a 
good adventure, and disbelieving in the ghost story, 
declares that he will go in Dickson's place. 

In the second act George, who has found entrance 
into the castle, calls for the White Lady, who appears 
in the shape of Anna. She believes that Dickson is be- 
fore her and she reveals her secret to him, imploring 
his help against her false guardian Gaveston, who 
means to rob the true and only heir of his property. 
She knows that the missing son of the Avenels is living, 
and she has given a promise to the dying Countess to 
defend his rights against the rapacious Gaveston. 
George gives his hand to the pretended ghost in token 
of fidelity, and the warm and soft hand which clasps 
his awakes tender feelings in him. On the following 
morning Dickson and his wife, Jenny, are full of curi- 



146 THE OPERA 

osity about George's visit, but he does not breathe a 
word of his secret. 

The sale of the castle, as previously announced, is to 
begin, and Dickson has been empowered beforehand 
by all the neighboring farmers to bid the highest price, 
in order not to let it fall into the hands of the hate- 
ful Gaveston. They bid higher and higher, but at length 
Dickson stops, unable to go further. Gaveston feels 
assured of his triumph, when George Brown, recalling 
his vow to the White Lady, advances boldly, bidding 
one thousand pounds more. Anna is beside him, in the 
shape of the specter, and George obediently bids on, till 
the castle is his for the price of £300,000. Gaveston, in 
a perfect fury, swears to avenge himself on the adven- 
turer, who is to pay the sum in the afternoon. Should 
he prove unable to do so, he shall be put. into prison. 
George, who firmly believes in the help of his genius, 
is quietly confident, and meanwhile makes an inspection 
of the castle. Wandering through the vast rooms, dim 
recollections arise in him, and hearing the minstrel's 
song of the A vends, he all at once remembers and fin- 
ishes the romance which he heard in his childhood. 

The afternoon comes and with it Maclrton, the jus- 
tice of peace. He wants the money, and George begs 
to await the White Lady, who promised her help. 
Anna appears, bringing the treasure of the Avenels 
hidden in the statue, and with it some documents 
which prove the just claims of Edwin, Count Avenel. 
This long-lost Count she recognizes in George Brown, 
whose identity with the playmate of her youth she had 
found out the night before. Gaveston approaches full 
of wrath to tear aside the ghost's white veil, and see 
his own ward, Anna. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 147 

The happy owner of castle and country holds firm to 
the promise which he gave the White Lady, and oflFers 
hand and heart to the faithful Anna, who has loved 
him from her childhood. 

LA DAMNATION DE FAUST 
(The Damnation of Faust) 

Opera in four parts by Hector Berlioz. 

T N the first part Faust, the learned philosopher, wan- 
^ ders in the fields, near a German village, at sunrise, 
meditating upon nature. He observes a crowd of peas- 
ants who dance and sing, jesting rudely. The Hunga- 
rian troops approach to martial music. Great excite- 
ment prevails among the peasants. Faust alone re- 
mains cold and unmoved. 

The second part opens with Faust in his study, de- 
ploring his unhappy lot.' Neither in nature, nor in 
books, nor in old memories has he found solace. He 
decides to take poison; but as he raises* the cup to 
drink, the strains of an Easter hymn turn his thoughts 
toward good. Even then the fiend Mephisto is at his 
elbow, tempting him with promises of earthly joys. 
He succumbs and goes forth with the fiend in search 
of pleasure. They enter a wine-cellar in which a num- 
ber of boon companions are carousing. Mephisto joins 
them, but Faust is disgusted by their uproarious rib- 
aldry. Led by Mephisto to a garden on the banks of 
the Elbe, he falls asleep amid the music of a chorus of 
sylphs, and dreams of Marguerite, a fair unknown peas- 
ant girl. As the sylphs dance about him he awakens, 
still thinking of Marguerite and desiring to find her. 
A troop of soldiers march by, returning from war and 



148 THE OPERA 

eager for pleasure. They are joined by a band of 
students, who proclaim in song the joys of wine and 

love. 

Part third begins with distant drums and trumpets 
sounding the retreat. Faust impatiently awaits Mar- 
guerite in her dwelling. Mephisto warns him of her 
coming, and he conceals himself in her room. Mar- 
guerite enters, musing upon a strange dream of an un- 
known lover. She braids her hair, singing dreamily 
of the faithful King of Thule. Mephisto invokes the 
powers of evil and begins a mocking serenade, while in 
the garden without the will-o'-the-wisps dance. Faust 
appears before Marguerite, who is startled, but in an 
ardent love-scene they declare their mutual passion, 
and Marguerite at last is persuaded to give herself to 
her lover. The entrance of Mephisto, to tell them that 
the villagers are coming to warn Marguerite's mother 
of her danger, terrifies the bewildered girl. She and 
Faust part reluctantly, while Mephisto exults over the 
enslavement of his victim. The villagers approach 
muttering threats, as Mephisto forces Faust to depart. 

In part fourth Marguerite, heavy-hearted, sits alone, 
thinking of her lover, who comes not. Soldiers march 
by sitiging of the glories of war. Faust, alone in his 
study, has found solace in nature, but Mephisto dis- 
turbs him with the news that Marguerite is in prison, 
condemned to death for the murder of her mother, 
Marthe, to whom the fiend had given too powerful a 
sleeping potion. Faust signs a paper which he believes 
will free Alarguerite, but which really gives over his 
own soul to perdition. Faust and the fiend then set 
forth on a wild ride through the darkness. As they 
gallop along they hear women and children praying. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i49 

Strange shapes close around them presaging death. The 
horses tremble and snort with fear. Faust imagines 
that it rains blood. Everywhere he sees horrible vis- 
ions, and at last he is hurled into the abyss to which the 
fiend has craftily led him, and is forever lost. The 
Prince of Darkness appears attended by infernal 
spirits, who exult over his downfall. 

With a change of scene a celestial chorus is heard, 
and the spirit of Marguerite, saved by faith and re- 
pentance, is received into heaven. With her apotheo- 
sis the drama ends. This opera is noteworthy as being 
among those in which Berlioz introduced some of his 
most astonishing teclinical effects. 



DINORAH 

Comic Opera in three acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. 
Text by Barbier and Carre. 

T^INORAH, the heroine, is a poor peasant girl and 
^^ the betrothed of a goatherd named Hoel. They 
are about to be married in the church at Auray, when 
a terrible thunderstorm suddenly interrupts the cere- 
mony. 

The cottage of Dinorah's father is destroyed, and 
Hoel gives up all his property to enable him to rebuild 
his house. Hoel is told by a sorcerer that he could 
gain great wealth if he would only consent to hide him- 
self for a year in the forest. He follows this advice, 
and Dinorah, who thinks she is forsaken by her lover, 
loses her reason. After the year has expired, Hoel is 
informed that a vast treasure is buried in a certain 
spot. His joy at this news turns into dismay when 
he hears that the first person who moves the stone 



150 THE OPERA 

placed over the treasure will die within a year. He 
therefore induces Corentin, an avaricious fellow, to do 
this in his stead by promising him a share of the booty. 
When Corentin is on the point of removing the stone, 
a voice is heard, which reveals to him the legend of 
the treasure, and the fatal conditions imposed upon the 

finder. 

Corentin, though enraged at the cunning trick Hoel 
has played on him, still cannot forego all hope of gain- 
ing the treasure. He discovers that the singer whose 
voice had warned him is no other than the mad girl 
Dinorah, and he resolves to make use of her, as former- 
ly Hoel had made use of him, by persuading her to 
move the fatal stone. This she is about to do when the 
bell on her favorite goat diverts her attention, and 
causes her to fly this accursed place. In her flight, she 
is in danger of being carried away by an inundation, 
but is saved from drowning by Hoel. The sound of 
his beloved voice acts like a talisman, she recovers 
her reason, and there is now no drawback to their 
marriage. The union of the lovers closes the opera. 

LE DOMINO NOIR 
(The Black Domino) 

Comic Opera in three acts by Daniel F. E. Aubcr. 

Text by Scribe. 

'T^IIE scene is laid in Madrid in the last century. 
The Queen of Spain gives a masked ball, at which 
our heroine, Angela, is present, accompanied by her 
companion. Brigitta. There she is seen by Horatio di 
Massarena, a young nobleman, who met her a year 
before at one of these balls and fell in love with her, 
without knowing her. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 151 

This time he detains her, but is again unable to dis- 
cover her real name, and confessing his love for her 
he receives the answer that she can be no more than a 
friend to him. Massarena detains her so long that the 
clock strikes the midnight hour as Angela prepares 
to seek her companion. Massarena confesses to hav- 
ing removed Brigitta under some pretext, and Angela 
in despair cries out that she is lost. She is in reality 
a member of a convent, and destined to be lady abbess, 
though she has not yet taken the vows. She is very 
highly connected, and has secretly helped Massarena 
to advance in his career as a diplomatist. Great is her 
anxiety to return to her convent after midnight, but 
she declines all escort, and walking alone through the 
streets, she comes by chance into the house of Count 
Juliano, a gentleman of somewhat uncertain character, 
and Massarcna's friend. Juliano is just giving a sup- 
per to his gay friends, and Angela bribes his house- 
keeper, Claudia, to keep her for the night. She ap- 
pears before the guests disguised as an Aragonese 
waiting-maid, and charms them all, and particularly 
Massarena, with her grace and coquetry. But as the 
young gentlemen begin to be insolent, she disappears, 
feeling herself in danger of being recognized. Massa- 
rena, discovering in her the charming black domino, is 
very unhappy to see her in such company. Meanwhile 
Angela succeeds in getting the keys of the convent 
from Gil Perez, the porter, who had also left his post, 
seduced by his love of gormandizing, and had come to 
pay court to Qaudia. Angela troubles his conscience, 
frightens him with her black mask, and flees. When 
she has gone the housekeeper confesses that her pre- 
tended Aragonese was a stranger, by all appearance 



152 THE OPERA 

a noble lady, who sought refuge in Juliano's house. 
In the third act Angela reaches the convent, but not 
without more adventures. Thanks to Brigitta's clever- 
ness, her absence has not been discovered. At length 
the day has come when she is to be made lady abbess, 
and she is arrayed in the attire suited to her future 
high office, when Massarena is announced to her. He 
comes to ask to be relieved from a marriage with 
Ursula, Lord Elfort's daughter, who is destined for 
him, and who is also an inmate of the convent, but 
whom he cannot love. Notwithstanding her disguise 
he recognizes his beloved domino, who. happily for 
both, is released by the Queen from her high mission 
and permitted to choose a husband. Of course it is no 
other than the happy Massarena; while Ursula is 
consoled by being made lady abbess, a position which 
well suits her ambitious temper. 

DON GIOVANNI 

Opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadcus Mozart 

Text by Da Pontc. 

'"F*HE hero, spoiled by fortune, and blase, is ever 
^ growing more reckless. He even dares to attack 
the virtue of Donna Anna, one of the first ladies of a 
city in Spain, of which her father, an old Spanish 
grandee, as noble and as strict in virtue as Don Gio- 
vanni is satiated and frivolous, is governor. The old 
father, coming forward to help his beloved daughter, 
with drawn dagger attacks Don Giovanni, who, com- 
pelled to defend himself, has the misfortune to stab 
his assailant. 

Donna Anna, a lady not only noble and virtuous. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 153 

but proud and high-spirited, vows to avenge her fa- 
ther's death. Though betrothed to a nobleman named 
Octavio, she will never know any peace until her 
father, of whose death she feels herself the innocent 
cause, is avenged. Her only hope is death, and in that 
she offers the liveliest contrast to her betrothed, who 
shows himself a gentleman of good temper and quali- 
ties, but of a mind too weak for his lady's high-flown 
courage and truly tragic character. Though Octavio 
wants to avenge Donna Anna's father, he would do it 
only to please her. His one aim is marriage with her. 
Her passionate feelings he does not understand. 

Don Giovanni, pursued not only by Donna Anna, but 
also by his own neglected bride, Donna Elvira, tries 
to forget himself in debauches and extravagances. 
His servant Leporello, in every manner the real coun- 
terpart of his master, is his aider and abettor. A more 
witty, a more amusing figure does not exist. His fine 
sarcasm brings Don Giovanni's character into bold re- 
lief ; they complement and explain each other. 

But Don Giovanni, passing from one extravagance 
to another, sinks deeper; everything he tries begins 
to fail him, and his doom approaches. He begins to 
amuse himself with Zerlina, the young bride of a peas- 
ant named Masetto, but each time, when he seems all 
but successful with the little coquette, his enemies, who 
have united against him, interfere and present a new 
foe in the person of the bridegroom, the plump and 
rustic Masetto. At last Don Giovanni is obliged to 
take refuge from the hatred of his pursuers. His 
flight brings him to the grave of the dead governor, 
in whose memory a life-size statue has been erected in 
his own park. Excited to the highest pitch and almost 



154 THE OPERA 

beside himself, Don Giovanni even mocks the dead ; he 
invites him to a supper. The statue moves its head in 
acceptance of the dreadful invitation of the murderer. 
Toward evening Donna Elvira comes to see him, 
willing to pardon everything if only her lover will re- 
pent. She fears for him and for his fate. She docs 
not ask for his love, only for the repentance of his 
follies ; but all is in vain. The half-drunken Don Gio- 
vanni laughs at her, and so she leaves him alone. Then 
the ghostly guest, the statue of the governor, enters. 
He too tries to move his host's conscience. He fain 
would save him in the last hour. Don Giovanni re- 
mains deaf to those warnings of a better self, and so 
he incurs his doom. The statue vanishes, the earth 
opens, and the demons of hell devour Don Giovanni 
and his splendid palace. 

DON PASQUALE 

Comic Opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. 
Text after '*Ser Marcantonio " by Cammcrano. 

'T^IIE wealthy old bachelor Don Pasqualc desires to 
'■' marry his only nephew to a rich and noble lady; 
but finding a hindrance in Ernesto's love for another, 
he decides to punish his headstrong nephew by entering 
himself into marriage and thus disinheriting Ernesto. 
His physician Malatesta, Ernesto's friend, pretends 
to have discovered a suitable partner for him in the 
person of his (Malatesta's) sister, an "ingenue," edu- 
cated in a convent and utterly ignorant of the ways of 
the world. 

Don Pasquale maliciously communicates his inten- 
tions to the young widow Norina, telling her to dis- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i55 

trust Malatesta. The latter, however, has been before- 
hand with him, and easily persuades Norina to play 
the part of his (Malatesta's) sister, and to endeavor, 
by the beauty of her person and the modesty of her 
demeanor, to gain the old man's affections. Should 
she succeed in doing so, Don Pasquale and Norina are 
to go through a mock form of marriage — a notary, in 
the person of a cousin, named Carlo, has already been 
gained for the purpose — ^after which Norina, by her 
obstinacy, extravagance, capriciousness, and coquetry, 
is to make the old man repent of his infatuation and 
ready to comply with their wishes. 

Urged on by her love for Ernesto, Norina consents 
to play the part assigned to her, and the charming sim- 
plicity of her manners, her modesty and loveliness so 
captivate the old man that he falls into the trap and 
makes her an offer of his hand. The marriage takes 
place, and one witness failing to appear, Ernesto, who 
happens to be near, and who is aware of the plot, is 
requested to take his place. Besides appointing Norina 
heiress of half his wealth, Don Pasquale at once makes 
her absolute mistress of his fortune. Having suc- 
ceeded in attaining her aim, Norina throws aside her 
mask, and by her self-will, prodigality, and wayward- 
ness drives her would-be husband to despair. She 
squanders his money, visits the theater on the very day 
of their marriage, ignoring the presence of her husband 
in such a manner that he wishes himself in his grave, 
or rid of the termagant, who has destroyed the peace of 
his life. The climax is reached on his discovery among 
the accounts, all giving proof of his wife's reckless ex- 
travagance, a billet-doux pleading for a clandestine 
meeting in his own garden. Malatesta is summoned 



156 THE OPERA 

and cannot help feeling remorse on beholding the wan 
and haggard appearance of his friend. He recom- 
mends prudence, advises Don Pasquale to assist, him- 
self unseen, at the proposed interview, and then to 
drive the guilty wife from the house. The jealous 
husband, though frankly confessing the folly he had 
committed in taking so young a wife, at first refuses to 
listen to Malatesta's counsel, and determines to sur- 
prise the lovers and have them brought before the 
judge. Finally, however, he suffers himself to be dis- 
suaded and leaves the matter in Malatesta's hands. 

In the last scene the lovers meet, but Ernesto escapes 
on his uncle's approach, who is sorely disappointed at 
having to listen to the bitter reproaches of his supposed 
wife, instead of being able to turn her out of doors. 

Meanwhile Malatesta arrives, summons Ernesto, and 
in his uncle's name gives his (Don Pasquale's) consent 
to Ernesto's marriage with Norina, promising her a 
splendid dowry. 

Don Pasquale's wife, true to the part she has under- 
taken to play, of course opposes this arrangement ; and 
Don Pasquale, too happy to be able to thwart his wife, 
hastens to give his consent, telling Ernesto to bring 
his bride. His dismay on discovering that his own 
wife, whom he has only known under the name of 
Sophronia, and his nephew's bride are one and the 
same person, may be easily imagined. Ilis rage and 
disappointment are, however, somewhat diminished by 
the reflection that he will no longer have to suffer 
from the whims of the young wife who had inveigled 
him into the ill-assorted marriage, and he at length 
consents, giving the happy couple his blessing. 

Considered as representative of the modern Italian 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i57 

opera, this work, one of Donizetti's latest compositions, 
properly takes a high rank among those of its class. 
It affords excellent opportunities for vocal artists, and 
its bright music and witty text render it particularly 
enjoyable when well performed. 

LES DRAGONS DE VILLARS 
(The Hermit's Bell) 

Comic Opera in three acts by Louis Aime Maillart 
Text after the French by Ernst. 

T^HE scene is laid in a French mountain village near 
^ the frontier of Savoy toward the close of the war 
in the Cevennes in 1704. 

In the first act peasant women in the service of 
Thibaut, a rich country squire, arc collecting fruit. 
Georgette, Thibaut's young wife, controls their work. 
In compliance with a general request she treats them 
to a favorite provengal song, in which a young girl, 
forgetting her first vows, made to a young soldier, 
gives her hand to another suitor. She is interrupted 
by the sound of trumpets. Thibaut, hurrying up in 
great distress, asks the women to hide themselves at 
once, because soldiers are marching into the village. He 
conceals his own wife in the pigeon-house. A detach- 
ment of dragoons arrive, and Belamy, their corporal, 
asks for food and wine at Thibaut's house. He learns 
that there is nothing to be had and in particular that 
all the women have fled, fearing the unprincipled sol- 
diers of King Louis XIV, sent to persecute the poor 
Huguenots or Camisards, who are hiding in the moun- 
tains — further that the "Dragons de Villars" are said 
to be an especially wild and dissolute set. 

Belamy is greatly disgusted, and after having had his 



158 THE OPERA 

dinner and a sleep in Thibaut's own bed, decides to 
march on. The squire gladly offers to accompany the 
soldiers to St. Gratien's grotto near the hermitage, 
where they have orders to search for the Huguenot 
refugees. 

While Belamy is sleeping, Thibaut calls his servant 
Silvain and scolds him because, though best of servants, 
he has now repeatedly been absent overlong on his er- 
rands; finally he orders him to saddle the mules. 

Stammering, Silvain owns that they have gone astray 
in the mountains, but that he is sure of their being 
found in due time. While Thibaut expresses his fear 
that they may be stolen by the fugitives, Rose Friquet, 
an orphan girl, brings the mules, riding on the back of 
one of them. Thibaut loads her with reproaches, but 
Silvain thanks her warmly, and though she mockingly 
repudiates his thanks, he discovers that she has taken 
the mules in order not to let the provost into Silvain's 
secret. The fact is that Silvain carries food every day 
to the refugees, and Rose Friquet, the poor goat- 
keeper, who is despised and supposed to be wicked and 
malicious, protects him in her poor way, because he 
once intercepted a stone which was meant for her 
head. 

While the soldiers are dining, Belamy, who has found 
Georgette's bonnet, demands an explanation. 

Thibaut, confused, finds a pretext for going out, but 
Rose betrays to Belamy first the wine-cellar and then 
Georgette's hiding-place. The young wife cries for 
help and Rose runs in to bring Thibaut. Belamy is de- 
lighted with the pretty Georgette, but she tells him 
rather anxiously that all the wives of the village must 
needs remain entirely true to their husbands, for the 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i59 

hermit of St. Gratien, though dead for two hundred 
years, is keeping rigid watch, and betrays every case 
of infidelity by ringing a little bell, which is heard far 
and wide. 

Belamy is somewhat desirous to try the experiment 
with Georgette, and asks her to accompany him to the 
hermitage instead of her husband. 

After having found the other women in the village, 
the soldiers, to Thibaut's great vexation, decide to 
stay and amuse themselves. Silvain rejoices, and after 
a secret sign from Rose resolves to warn the refugees 
in the evening. 

In the second act Rose and Silvain meet near St. 
Gratien. Rose, after telling him that all the paths are 
occupied by sentries, promises to show him a way for 
the refugees which she and her goat alone know. Sil- 
vain, thanking her warmly, endeavors to induce her to 
care more for her outward appearance, praising her 
pretty features. Rose is delighted to hear for the first 
time that she is pretty, and the duet ensuing is one of 
the most charming things in the opera. Silvain prom- 
ises to be her friend henceforth, and then leaves in 
order to seek the Camisards. After this Thibaut ap- 
pears seeking his wife, whom he has seen going away 
with Belamy. Finding Rose he imagines he has mis- 
taken her for his wife, but she laughingly corrects him, 
and he proceeds to search for Georgette. Belamy now 
comes and courts Thibaut 's wife. But Rose, seeing 
them, resolves to free the path for the others. No 
sooner has Belamy tried to snatch a kiss from his com- 
panion than Rose draws the rope of the hermit's bell, 
and she repeats the proceeding until Georgette takes 
flight, while Thibaut rushes up at the sound of the bell. 



i6o THE OPERA 

Belamy reassures him, intimating that the bell may 
have rung for Rose (though it never rings for girls), 
and accompanies him to the village. But he soon re- 
turns to look for the supposed hermit who has played 
him this trick and finds Rose instead, who does not 
perceive him. To his great surprise, Silvain comes up 
with the whole troop of refugees, leading the aged 
clergyman, who had been a father to him in his child- 
hood. Silvain presents Rose to them as their deliverer 
and vows to make her his wife. Rose leads them to 
the secret path, while Silvain returns to the village, 
leaving Belamy triumphant at his discovery. 

In the third act we find the people on the following 
morning speaking of nothing but Silvain's wedding 
with Rose and of the hermit's bell. Nobody knows 
who has been the culprit, but Thibaut slyly calculates 
that the hermit has rung beforehand when Rose the 
bride kissed the dragoon. Having learned that the sol- 
diers had been commanded to saddle their horses in the 
midst of the dancing the night before, and that Belamy, 
sure of his prey, has come back, he believes that Rose 
has betrayed the poor Camisards in order to win the; 
price set on their heads, and this opinion he now com- 
municates to Silvain. 

To keep Belamy away from Georgette, the sly squire 
has conducted him to the wine-cellar, and the officer, 
now half -drunk, admits having had a rendezvous with 
Rose. When Thibaut has retired, Belamy again kisses 
Georgette, and lo, the bell does not ring this time ! 

Meanwhile Rose comes down the hill, neatly clad and 
glowing with joy and pride, and Georgette, disregard- 
ing Thibaut's reproofs, offers her the wedding garland. 
The whole village is assembled to see the wedding, but 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i6i 

Silvain appears with dark brow, and when Rose radi- 
antly greets him he pushes her back fiercely, believing 
that she betrayed the refugees, who are, as he has 
heard, caught. Rose is too proud to defend herself, 
but when Georgette tries to console her she silently 
draws from her bosom a paper containing the informa- 
tion that the refugees have safely crossed the frontier. 
Great is Silvain's shame and heartfeU his repentance. 
Suddenly Delamy enters, beside himself with rage, for 
his prey has escaped and he has lost his patent as lieu- 
tenant, together with the remuneration of two hundred 
pistoles, and he at once orders Silvain to be shot. But 
Rose bravely defends her lover, threatening to reveal 
the dragoon's neglect of duty. When, therefore, Bel- 
amy's superior appears to hear the important news of 
which the messenger told him, his corporal is only able 
to staniTiKM- t)ut tliat nothing in particiilar has happened : 

after all, Georgette is saved from discovery 

; becomes Silvain's happy bride. 



of this composer in 

!t rise to a merry war 

y abused and ardently 

^adverse reviews have 

and although the first 

»lhe Royal Dresden 

IS billed for 

(ericas, as well as 



i62 THE OPERA 

-Sschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides all based trage- 
dies on the story of Elektra, but it may be conceded 
that while the characters in the old Greek plays are 
merely puppets in the hands of the Olympian gods, 
Hofmannstlial preferred to base his book on the primi- 
tive passions of humanity. 

Klytemnestra, with the aid of her lover ^Egisthus, 
murders her royal husband, Agamemnon. Then, be- 
lieving that if allowed to grow to manhood, Orestes 
will in turn slay her to avenge his father's death, she 
plans the destruction of her own son. A pilgrim 
steals him away from the palace, however, and re- 
moves him to a place of safety. Elektra, one of the 
daughters of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra, cherishes 
hope that this brother may survive as an instrument 
of destruction, but failing this, determines to be the 
avenger herself. Chrysosthemis, her sister, accepts 
conditions as they are, and becomes the favorite in the 
wretched household, where Elektra is the drudge. Tor- 
tured by an evil dream, Klytemnestra asks Elektra to 
interpret it for her. She replies that "the dreams will 
only cease when the blood of a certain person has 
been shed/* meaning her mother. 

Wishing to know Elektra's precise feelings toward 
her, Klytemnestra causes the girl to be informed that 
Orestes is dead — killed by a fall from his horse. 

Klytemnestra and ^gisthus are convinced from 
Elcktra's attitude under this g^eat grief that she too 
is dangerous, but before they can destroy her. their 
plot is revealed by Chrysosthemis. Thus Elektra, al- 
ready bent on murder, must either slay or be slain. 

Orestes, now grown into manhood, returns to carry 
out the vengeance which has been the one object of 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 163 

his life. Elektra does not know him, but when he 
has convinced her, by means of a ring, that he is in- 
deed her brother, she is overjoyed. She digs up the 
hatchet with which their father was slain, gives it to 
Orestes, and almost forces him into the castle where 
the guilty mother and her paramour are asleep. The 
death of Klytemnestra is announced a moment later 
by a frightful shriek. Then i^gisthus runs forth, 
closely followed by Orestes, who strikes him down. 
Elektra, drunk with blood, dances in mad exultation 
until she falls dead. 



DIE ENTFUHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL 
(The Abduction from the Seraglio) 

Opera in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 
Text after Bretzner by Stephanie. 

/^ONSTANZE, the betrothed bride of Belmonte, 
^^ with her maid Blondchen and Pedrillo, Belmonte's 
servant, is captured by pirates. All three are sold as 
slaves to Selim Pasha, who keeps the ladies in his 
harem, taking Constanze for himself, and giving Blond- 
chen to his overseer Osmin. Pedrillo has found 
means to inform his master of their misfortune, and 
Belmonte comes seeking entrance to the Pasha's villa, 
in the guise of an artist. Osmin, who is much in love 
with Blondchen, though she treats him haughtily, dis- 
trusts the artist and tries to interfere. But Pedrillo, 
who is p^ardener in the Pasha's service, frustrates Os- 
min's purpose and Belmonte is engaged. The worthy 
Pasha is quite infatuated with Constanze and tries hard 
to gain her affections. But Constanze has sworn to be 
faithful till death to Belmonte, and great is her rap- 



i64 THE OPERA 

ture when Blondchen brings the news that her lover 
is near. 

With the help of Pedrillo, who manages to intoxicate 
Osmin, they try to escape, but Osmin overtakes them 
and brings them back to the Pasha, who at once orders 
that they be brought before him. Constanze advan- 
cing with noble courage, explains that the pretended art- 
ist is her lover, and that she will rather die with him 
than leave him. Selim Pasha, overwhelmed by this 
discovery, retires to think about what he shall do, and 
his prisoners prepare for death, Belmonte and Con- 
stanze with renewed tender protestations of love, Pe- 
drillo and Blondchen without either fear or trembling. 

Great is their happiness and Osmin's wrath when 
the noble Pasha, touched by their constancy, sets them 
free, and asks for their friendship, bidding them re- 
member him kindly after their return into their own 
country. 

ERNANI 

Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. 
Text adapted from Victor Hugo's "Hernani" by Piave. 

T^ RXAXI, an Italian rebel of obscure parentage, is 
'*-' the accepted lover of Donna Elvira, the high-born 
niece of Don Ruy Ciomez dc Silva. grandee of Spain. 

Donna Elvira is also coveted by Don Carlos, King 
of Spain, and by her old uncle Silva, who is about to 
wed her, much against her will. 

Ernani comes to Silva's castle in the garb of a pil- 
grim and (inds the King in Donna Elvira's room try- 
ing to lure her away. Here they are surprised by 
Silva, who, failing to recognize his sovereign, chal- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 165 

lenges both men to mortal combat. When he recog- 
nizes the King in one of his foes he is in despair and 
humbly craves his pardon, which is granted to him. 
At the same time Don Carlos sends Ernani away on 
a distant errand, hoping to rid himself of him once 
for all; but Donna Elvira vows to kill herself rather 
than belong either to the King or to her uncle, and 
promises unwavering constancy to her lover Ernani. 

Nevertheless, the second act shows Elvira on the 
eve of her wedding with her uncle Silva. 

Ernani, once more proclaimed an outlaw, seeks ref- 
uge in Silva's castle, again disguised as a pilgrim. But 
when Ernani hears of Donna Elvira's approaching 
marriage with Silva, he reveals his identity and offers 
his head to the old man, telling him that his life is 
forfeited and that a reward is offered for his capture. 
Silva is too generous to betray his rival ; he orders the 
gates of the castle to be barred at once. While this is 
being done Ernani violently reproaches Elvira for 
having played him false. She answers that she has 
been led to believe him dead. Dissolved in tears, they 
embrace tenderly. Thus they are surprised by Silva, 
who, though for the time being bound by the laws of 
hospitality, swears to destroy Ernani wherever he 
may find him. 

For the moment, however, he conceals his foe so 
well that Don Carlos's followers cannot find him. 
Though the King threatens to take the old man's life, 
the nobleman remains true to his word, and even makes 
the greatest sacrifice by delivering Elvira as a hostage 
into the King's hands. 

Left alone, he opens Ernani's hiding-place and chal- 
lenges him to fight, but when the latter proves to him 



i66 THE OPERA 

that Don Carlos is his rival and wants to seduce El- 
vira, Silva's wrath turns against the King. 

He accepts Emani's offer to help him in frustrating 
the King's designs, but at the same time he reminds 
him that his life is forfeited. Emani declares himself 
satisfied and gives Silva a bugle, the sound of which 
is to proclaim that the hour of reckoning between the 
two foes has come. 

The third act takes place at Aix-la-Chapelle. 

The King has heard of the conspiracy against his 
life. While the conspirators assemble in the imperial 
vaults he is concealed behind the monument of Charle- 
magne, and frustrates their designs by advancing from 
his hiding-place and proclaiming himself emperor. 

At the same moment the people rush in and do hom- 
age to Charles V. Emani surrenders to his foes, 
but Elvira implores the Emperor's pardon, which is 
granted ; and Charles crowns his gracious act by unit- 
ing the lovers and creating Emani Duke of Segorbia. 

Both Elvira and Ernani go to Seville to celebrate 
their nuptials. But in the midst of their bliss Ernani 
hears the sound of his bugle, and Silva appears and 
claims his rival's life. In vain the lovers implore his 
mercy; Silva is inexorable, and relentlessly gives Er- 
nani the choice between a poisoned draught and a 
dagger. Seizing the latter, Emani stabs himself, while 
Donna Elvira sinks senseless beside his corpse, leaving 
the aged Silva to enjoy his revenge alone. So ends 
this very dramatic work of Verdi's, which has been 
more appreciated lately than when first produced. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 167 

ESMERALDA 
Opera in four acts by Ambroise Thomas. 

T^HE first act takes place in the Court of Miracles in 
-*• Paris, where the beggars are assembled and dis- 
cuss the edict condemning the poet Gringoire to death 
unless some girl will accept him as her husband. Only 
Esmeralda, a gypsy, is willing to rescue Gringoire at 
such a sacrifice. When she has saved the poet, how- 
ever, guards seize her, at the instigation of Archdea- 
con Frollo, who is madly in love with her. Esmeralda 
escapes. 

The second act takes place in the home of 
Flcur de Lys, a room opening into a garden. Seeing 
a girl dancing in the court, the ladies demand that she 
be brought before them, and when she enters they are 
astonished at her beauty. Fleur dc Lys recognizes 
in Esmeralda the dancing girl who has presumed to 
become her rival in the aflfections of Captain Phoebus, 
and finds her in possession of a scarf which she had 
herself embroidered and presented to the gallant cap- 
tain. She then denounces Phoebus for his infidelity, 
and threatens Esmeralda, who throws herself on the 
protection of Phoebus and compels the acknowledg- 
ment of their love. 

In the third act Esmeralda's garret is shown. 
Gringoire finds that though Esmeralda has saved 
his life, she intends to be his wife in name 
only, so he philosophically goes to bed, leaving her 
tctC'Q-tete with Captain Phoebus. While the lovers 
are thus occupied, Frollo and Quasimodo enter through 
a window. Frollo pledges himself not to injure the 
girl, and thereupon Quasimodo retires, as Frollo hides 



i68 THE OPERA 

behind a curtain. Phoebus and Esmeralda sing an 
impassioned duet, which is abruptly ended by Frollo. 
The unfortunate priest is overcome by insane jealousy, 
and stabs Phoebus, then escapes through the window. 
The guards arrive, and Esmeralda is arrested for at- 
tempting the murder of Phoebus. 

In the fourth act Esmeralda, who has been 
condemned to death, is visited by Frollo. He assures 
her of his great love, and promises to save her life if 
she will return his affection. At this juncture Grin- 
goire arrives, followed by Captain Phoebus. Enraged 
at the sight of Phoebus, Frollo again tries to kill him, 
but Quasimodo throws himself between them, and 
receives the fatal blow intended for the captain. Frol- 
lo is imprisoned as a murderer, and Phoebus and Es- 
meralda are united. 

EUGEN ONEGIN 

Opera in three acts by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. 
Text adapted from Pushkin's tale. 

np HE first act shows a garden, in which Frau Lari- 
^ na, owner of a country estate, is preserving fruit 
and listening to the song of her daughters. It has been 
familiar to her since youth, when she loved a careless 
officer, but was compelled to marry an unloved hus- 
band. She has gradually accustomed herself to her 
fate, however, and has found happiness in the love of 
a good man. The peasants bring in the harvest 
wreath. Larina's daughter Tatjana grows pensive with 
the music, while her lively sister, Olga, prefers to 
dance. All are astonished at the pallor of Tatjana, 
and believe she is affected by the contents of a book 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 169 

she is reading. Lenski arrives in a wagon, accompa- 
nied by his neighbor Onegin. It soon appears that 
Tatjana loves Onegin, while Lenski is attracted to 
Olga. The latter soon comes to an agreement, while 
Onegin remains stiffly polite to Tatjana. 

The scene changes to Tat j ana's room. She is about 
to retire, and begs the nurse Filipjewna to tell her 
stories. While listening she tries to conceal her emo- 
tion. At last she confesses to the old nurse that she 
is in love, and sends her away. Instead of sleeping, 
she writes letters, but tears them up when written. 
At last she finishes one and seals it. She remains at 
the window the rest of the night, and when Filipjewna 
arrives in the morning, she sends the latter secretly 
to Onegin. 

Again we are taken to the garden. A number of 
maids gather berries and sing. Tatjana arrives, run- 
ning in excitement, and throws herself on the sward, 
followed by Onegin, who has received her letter. He 
explains to her coldly that he honors the candor of her 
confession, but cannot fulfill her hopes, as he is a profli- 
gate and not suited to the marriage state. A maiden's 
love is only fantasy, and she must overcome it. Deep- 
ly hurt, Tatjana departs. 

The second act begins in a room in Larina's house, 
filled with a merry crowd. Lenski dances with Olga, 
Onegin with Tatjana. They are compelled to endure 
the tattling of the older dames. Notwithstanding the 
protest of Lenski, Onegin asks Olga to dance. Lenski 
is angry with Olga because she is flirting with Onegin, 
and becomes so jealous that the girl, to punish him, 
says that she will dance the quadrille with Onegin. 
Before it begins, the Frenchman Triquet sings a song 



I70 THE OPERA 

of doubtful character to the praise of Tatjana, which 
is received with applause. Onegin dances with Olga, 
a captain with Tatjana, and Lenski stands moodily 
apart. When Onegin asks him what is wrong, he an- 
swers angrily ; a quarrel ensues, and the dance is inter- 
rupted. Amid general consternation Lenski asks his 
friend to fight a duel. 

Now follows a change of scene to a mill. It is 
early in the morning. Lenski and his second, Saretzki, 
are impatiently awaiting their opponents. At last One- 
gin arrives, accompanied only by his servant, who is 
to act as second. While he arranges with Saretzki, the 
erstwhile friends regret that they are now enemies. 
Lenski falls dead, struck by the bullet of Onegin, and 
Onegin, overwhelmed with grief, falls upon the body of 
his friend. 

The third act, six years later, discloses a hall in the 
palace of Prince Gremin, where company is gathered. 
The hostess is Princess Gremina (Tatjana). Onegin 
is among her guests. He has found no peace, and is 
constantly troubled with pangs of conscience. He 
learns that the Princess is Tatjana, and she is pro- 
foundly agitated when she meets him. The Prince 
tells Onegin that he loves his wife passionately, and 
introduces him to her. She addresses a few indiffer- 
ent words to him, and is led away by her husband. 
Onegin gazes after her. He feels that he loves her, 
laments his former conduct, and resolves to gain her 
affection. 

The closing scene takes place in the reception-room 
in the palace of the Prince. Tatjana has received a 
message from Onegin that he will visit her. She still 
loves him, but she wishes to retain her peace of mind, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 171 

and when he appears she reminds him with deep emo- 
tion of the conversation in the garden. She has 
pardoned him and acknowledges that he had acted 
rightly, but declares it to be his duty to leave and never 
return. Notwithstanding his outbreak of passion, she 
remains firm and leaves him. Completely cast down, 
he stands silent, and then rushes away in despair. 



FALSTAFF 

Lyric Comedy in three acts by Giuseppe VerdL 

Text by Boito. 

nPHE first scene is laid in the Garter Inn at Wind- 
*■• sor, England. After a quarrel with the French 
physician Dr. Caius, who has been robbed while drunk 
by Falstaff*s servants Bardolph and Pistol, the ser- 
vants are ordered off by Falstaff with two love-letters 
for Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Page. The knaves refusing 
indignantly to take the parts of go-betweens, Falstaff 
sends them to the devil and gives the letters to his page 
Robin. 

In the second act the two ladies having shown each 
other the love-letters, decide to avenge themselves on 
the old fat fool. Meanwhile Falstaff's servants betray 
their master's intentions toward Mrs. Ford to her hus- 
band, who swears to guard his wife, and to keep a 
sharp eye on Sir John. Then ensues a love-scene be- 
tween Fenton and Mrs. Ford's daughter Anne, who is 
destined by her father to marry the rich Dr. Caius, but 
who by far prefers her poor suitor Fenton. 

After a while the Merry Wives assemble again, in 
order to entice Falstaff into a trap. Mrs. Quickly 
brings him an invitation to Mrs. Ford's house in the 



172 THE OPERA 

absence of the lady's husband, which Sir John accepts 
triumphantly. 

Sir John is visited by Ford, who assumes the name 
of Brook, and Falstaff is nothing loath to drink the 
old Cyprus wine which the other has brought with 
him. Brook also produces a purse filled with sover- 
eigns, and entreats Falstaff to use it in order to get 
admittance to a certain Mrs. Ford, whose favor Brook 
vainly sought. Falstaff gleefully reveals the rendez- 
vous which he is to have with the lady, and thereby 
leaves poor disguised Ford a prey to violent jealousy. 

The next scene contains Falstaff's interview with 
mischievous Alice Ford, which is interrupted by Mrs. 
Page's announcement of the husband. 

Falstaff is packed into a clothes-basket, while hus- 
band and neighbors search for him in vain. This scene, 
in which Falstaff, half suffocated, alternately sighs and 
begs to be let out, while the women tranquilly sit on 
the basket and enjoy their trick, is extremely comic. 
The basket, with Falstaff, soiled clothes and all, is 
turned over into a canal, while the fat knight hears 
the women's laughter. 

In the third act Mrs. Quickly succeeds once more in 
enticing the old fool. She orders him to another ren- 
dezvous in the park at midnight, and advises him to 
come in the disguise of Heme the Black Huntsman. 
The others hear of the joke, and all decide to punish 
him thoroughly for his fatuity. Ford, who has prom- 
ised Dr. Caius to unite Anne to him that very night, 
tells him to wear a monk's garb, and also reveals to 
him that Anne is to wear a white dress with roses. 
But his wife, overhearing this, frustrates his designs. 
She gives a black monk's garb to Fenton, while Anne 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i73 

chooses the costume of a fairy queen. When Faistaff 
appears in his disguise he is attacked on all sides by 
fairies, wasps, flies, and mosquitos, and they torment 
him until he cries for mercy. Meanwhile Caius, in a 
gray monk's garb, looks for his bride everywhere until 
a tall veiled female in flowing white robes (Bardolph) 
falls into his arms; on the other side Anne appears 
with Fenton. Both couples are wedded, and only when 
they unveil is the mistake discovered. With bitter 
shame the men see how they have all been duped by 
merry and clever women, but they have to make the 
best of a bad case, and so Ford grants his benediction 
to the happy lovers, and embraces his wife, only too 
glad to find her true and faithful. 

FAUST 

Opera in five acts by Charles Francois Gounod. 
Text by Barbier and Carre, founded on Goethe's drama. 

T^ AUST, a celebrated old doctor, is consumed by an 
insatiable thirst for knowledge; but having al- 
ready lived through a long life devoted to the acquire- 
ment of learning and to hard work as a scholar, with- 
out having his soul-hunger appreciably relieved, he is 
dissatisfied, and in his disappointment wishes to be re- 
leased from this life, which has grown to be a burden 
to him. At this moment Mephisto, the fiend, appears 
and persuades him to try life in a new shape. The 
old and learned doctor has only known it in theory, 
Mephisto will now show it to him in practice and in 
all the splendor of youth and freshness. Faust agrees 
and Mephisto endows him with youth and beauty. In 
this guise he sees earth anew. It is Easter-time, when 
all is budding and aglow with freshness and young 



174 THE OPERA 

life, and on such a bright spring day he first sees 
Marguerite and at once offers her his arm. 

But this lovely maiden, pure and innocent, and well 
guarded by a jealous brother named Valentin, refuses 
his company somewhat sharply. Nevertheless she 
cannot help seeing the grace and good bearing of the 
fine cavalier, and the simple village maiden is inwardly 
pleased with his flattery. A bad fate wills it that her 
brother Valentin, who is a soldier, has to leave on ac- 
tive service, and after giving many good advices and 
warnings for his beautiful sister's welfare, he goes, 
and so Mephisto is able to introduce Faust to the un- 
protected girl by means of a message which he is 
supposed to have received for Martha, an old aunt of 
Marguerite's. This old gossip, hearing from Mephisto 
that her husband has been killed in battle, lends a will- 
ing ear to the flatteries of the cunning fiend; and 
Marguerite is left to Faust, who wins her by his love 
and easy manners. She is only a simple maiden, 
knowing nothing of the world's ways and wiles, and 
she accepts her lover's precious gifts with childish de- 
light. 

By and by her brother Valentin returns victorious 
from the war, but too late ! He challenges his sister's 
seducer; Mephisto, however, directs Faust's sword, and 
the faithful brother, much against Faust's own will, 
is slain, cursing his sister with his last breath. 

Now Marguerite awakes to the awful reahty of her 
situation and she shrinks from her brother's murderer. 
Everybody shuns her, and she finds herself alone and 
forsaken. In despair she seeks refuge in church, but 
her own conscience is not silenced ; it accuses her more 
loudly than all the pious songs and prayers. Perse- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 175 

cuted by evil spirits, forsaken and forlorn, Margue- 
rite's reason gives way and she drowns her new-bom 
child. 

Meanwhile Mephisto has done everything to stifle in 
Faust the pangs of conscience. Faust never wills the 
evil, he loves Marguerite sincerely, but the bad spirit 
urges him onward. He shows him all the joys and 
splendors of earth, and antiquity in its most perfect 
form in the person of Helena, but in the midst of all 
his orgies Faust sees Marguerite. He beholds her, 
pale, unlike her former self, in the white dress of the 
condemned, with a blood-red circle round the neck. 
Then he knows no rest, he feels that she is in danger 
and he bids Mephisto save her. 

Marguerite has actually been thrown into prison for 
her deed of madness, and now the executioner's axe 
awaits her. She sits on the damp straw, rocking a 
bundle which she takes for her baby, and across her 
poor, wrecked brain there flit once more pictures of 
all the scenes of her short-lived happiness. Then 
Faust enters with Mephisto and tries to persuade her 
to escape with them. But she instinctively shrinks 
from her lover, loudly imploring God's and the saints' 
pardon. God has mercy on her, for, just as the bells 
are tolling for her execution, she expires, and her soul 
is carried to heaven by angels, there to pray for her 
erring lover. Mephisto disappears into the earth. 



176 THE OPERA 



FBUBRSNOT 
(The Ffre PamiiM) 

Lyric Poem in one act by Richard Strauss. 
Text by Wokogen. 

TT is prcx>f of the versatility of Richard Strauss, if 
^ proof were needed, that the man whose choice of 
material in '* Salome" and "Elektra" in itself sufficed 
to provoke controversy of the most acrimonious kind, 
should have attained no less success in his musical set- 
ting of "Feuersnot." 

Here is a folk-tale, modernized as to poetic and 
musical treatment, and made serve as the legends of 
th^ meistersingers of Nuremberg served Wagner, to 
confound the enemies and critics of the composer. 

In the hero of this opera Strauss is portraying him- 
self. Perhaps for this reason it caused less of a sen- 
sation in the world than his other works, but it con- 
tinues to make its way in the permanent repertoire of 
the world's great opera houses, in which alone it can 
be rightly performed. In Germany it has always been 
well received since the original production in Dres- 
den, November 21, 1901. 

The action takes place in Munich in a "fabulous no- 
time." Children are gathering wood for the bonfires 
which are to make part of the celebration that nights 
The burgomaster has given a liberal donation, and 
they now clamor at the Wizard's house, disturbing the 
meditations of Kunrad, the student who dwells there. 
Once aroused, however, Kunrad gleefully joins the 
children in their labors, and helps them to tear off the 
shutters of his old house to add to their stock of fuel. 

In the throng is Diemut, the burgomaster's daughter, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i77 

with whom the student instantly falls in love. Kun- 
rad takes her in his arms and kisses her passionately. 
Naturally the girl is mortified and indignant, and her 
friends are about to avenge what they can only in- 
terpret as an insult, when Diemut begs to be allowed 
to punish the youth in her own way. That evening, 
when the burgomaster invites his daughter to join him 
in a stroll about the town, she refuses. A moment 
later Diemut is seen combing her long hair in her 
balcony. Kunrad renews his protestations of affec- 
tion, and begs the maiden to grant an interview. To 
this she finally consents, and Kunrad steps into a bas- 
ket in which wood had been lowered to the children, 
Diemut promising to draw him up. Three of her 
girl friends, who have been watching Diemut's efforts 
to ensnare her too ardent lover, voice their delight in 
song, for when the basket is halfway between the 
balcony and the ground, Diemut pretends that her 
strength has failed, and when Kunrad tries to seize 
her long hair, she draws away with a little scream, 
leaving Kunrad hanging in mid-air. 

The townspeople gather about to deride Kunrad, and 
congratulate Diemut on the success of her plan, but 
their triumph is brief. Invoking the aid of the Wiz- 
ard, who is at once his friend and master, Kunrad 
plunges the entire city into darkness. The women 
and children are weeping with fright, and the burghers 
are threatening vengeance, when the moon shines forth 
clear and full, and Kunrad, now standing on the bal- 
cony, addresses the people. First he upbraids them 
for having driven Trom his home the great master, 
Richard Wagner. Then he adds that, as Wagner's 
successor, he is determined to carry on his chosen 



178 THE OPERA 

work, despite all opposition. Even Diemut, whom he 
has chosen as his helpmate, has failed to understand^ 
and so he has put out their lights and fires to show 
them how cold and dark the world can be without love. 
Diemut now opens her door, admitting Kunrad. 
The citizens have been convinced by his eloquence, 
and sound his praises. And Diemut too has been con- 
vinced, for again the windows glow with lights, the 
bonfires give forth a cheerful glare — sure token of the 
happiness of the lovers within. 



FIDELIO 

Opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. 
Text from the French of Bouilly by Sonnleithner. 

T^LORESTAN, a Spanish nobleman, has dared to 
•*• blame Don Pizarro, the governor of the state 
prison, a man as cruel as he is powerful. Pizarro, thus 
become Florestan's deadly foe, has seized him secretly 
and thrown him into a dungeon, reporting his death to 
the minister, Don Fernando. 

But this poor prisoner has a wife, Leonore, who is 
as courageous as she is faithful. She never believes 
in the false reports, but disguising herself in male at- 
tire, resolves not to rest until she has found her hus- 
band. 

In this disguise, calling herself Fidelio, she has 
contrived to get entrance into the fortress where she 
supposes her husband imprisoned, and by her gentle 
and courteous behavior and readiness for service of 
all kinds has won not only the heart of Rocco, the 
jailer, but that of his daughter Marcelline, who falls 
in love with the gentle youth and neglects her former 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i79 

lover Jaquino. Fidelio persuades Rocco to let her 
help him in his office with the prisoners. Quivering 
with mingled hope and fear, she opens the prison gates 
to let the state prisoners out into the court, where they 
may for once have air and sunshine. 

But seek as she may she cannot find her husband, 
and in silent despair she deems herself baffled. 

Meanwhile Pizarro has received a letter from Se- 
villa announcing the minister's forthcoming visit to 
the fortress. Pizarro, frightened at the consequences 
of such a call, resolves to silence Florestan forever. 
He orders the jailer to kill him, but th« old man will 
not burden his soul with a murder, and refuses firmly. 
Then Pizarro himself determines to kill Florestan, 
and summons Rocco to dig a grave in the dungeon in 
order to hide all traces of the crime. 

Rocco, already looking upon the gentle and diligent 
Fidelio as his future son-in-law, confides to him his 
dreadful secret, and with fearful forebodings she en- 
treats him to accept her help in the heavy work. Pi- 
zarro gives his permission, Rocco being too old and 
feeble to do the work quickly enough if alone. Pizarro 
has been rendered furious by the indulgence granted to 
the prisoners at Fidelio's entreaty, but a feeling of 
triumph overcomes every other when he sees Rocco 
depart for the dungeon with his assistant. 

Here we find poor Florestan chained to a stone. He 
is wasted to a skeleton, as his food has been reduced 
in quantity week by week by the cruel orders of his 
tormentor. He is gradually losing his reason ; he has 
visions and in each one beholds his beloved wife. 

When Leonore recognizes him she well-nigh faints, 
but with a superhuman effort she rallies and begins 



i8o THE OPERA 

her work. She has a piece of bread with her which she 
gives to the prisoner, and with it the remainder of 
Rocco's wine. Rocco, mild at heart, pities his victim 
sincerely, but he dares not act against the orders of his 
superior, fearing to lose his position, or even his life. 

While Leonore refreshes the sick man, Rocco gives 
a sign to Pizarro that the work is done, and bids 
Fidelio leave : but she only hides herself behind a stone 
pillar, waiting with deadly fear for the coming event, 
and decides to save her husband or to die with him. 

Pizarro enters, secretly resolved to kill not only his 
foe but also both witnesses of his crime. He will not 
kill Florestan, however, without letting him know who 
his assailant is. So he loudly shouts his own much- 
feared name; but while he raises his dagger Leonore 
throws herself between him and Florestan, shielding 
the latter with her breast. Pizarro, stupefied like 
Florestan, loses his presence of mind. Leonore profits 
by it and presents a pistol at him, with which she 
threatens his life should he attempt another attack. At 
this critical moment the trumpets sound, announcing 
the arrival of the minister, and Pizarro, in impotent 
wrath, is compelled to retreat. They are all summoned 
before the minister, who is shocked at seeing his old 
friend Florestan in this sad state, but not the less de- 
lighted with the noble courage of Leonore. 

Pizarro is conducted away in chains ; and the faith- 
ful wife with her own hands removes the fetters which 
still bind the husband for whom she has just won 
freedom and happiness. 

Marcelline, feeling inclined to be ashamed of her 
mistake, returns to her faithful lover Jaquino. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i8i 

LA FIGLIA DEL REGGIMENTO 
(The Daughter of the Regiment) 

Comic Opera in two .acts by Gaetano Donizetti. 
Text by St George and Bayard. 

npHE scene in the first act is laid near Bologna in 
"*• the year 1815; the second act in the castle of the 
Marchesa di Maggiorivoglio. 

Mary, a vivandiere, has been found and educated by 
a French sergeant, named Sulpice, and therefore be- 
longs in a sense to his regiment, which is on a cam- 
paign in Italy. She is called the "daughter*' of the 
regiment, which has adopted her, and she has grown 
up a bright and merry girl, full of pluck and spirit, the 
pet and delight of the whole regiment. 

Tonio, a young Swiss, who has fallen in love with 
Mary, is believed by the grenadiers to be a spy, and 
is about to be hanged. But Mary, knowing that he has 
only come to see her, tells them that he lately saved 
her life when she was in danger of falling over a prec- 
ipice. 

This changes everything, and on his expressing a 
desire to become one of them the grenadiers suffer the 
Swiss to enlist into their company. After the soldiers' 
departure he confesses his love to Mary, who returns 
it heartily. The soldiers agree to give their consent, 
when the Marchesa di Maggiorivoglio appears, and by 
a letter once affixed to the foundling Mary, addressed 
to a marchesa of the same name and carefully kept by 
Sulpice, it is proved that Mary is the Marchesa's niece. 
Of course this noble lady refuses her consent to a mar- 
riage with the low-born Swiss and claims Mary from 
her guardian. With tears and laments Mary takes 



i82 THE OPERA 

leave of her regiment and her lover, who at once de- 
cides to follow her. But he has enlisted as a soldier 
and is forbidden to leave the ranks. Sulpice and his 
whole regiment curse the Marchesa, who thus carries 
away their joy. 

In the second act Mary is in her aunt's castle. She 
has masters of every kind for her education, in order 
that she may become an accomplished lady; but she 
cannot forget her freedom and her dear soldiers, and 
instead of singing solfeggios and cavatinas, she is 
caught warbling her "rataplan," to the Marchesa's 
grief and sorrow. Nor can she cease to think of 
Tonio, and only after a great struggle has she been in- 
duced to promise her hand to a nobleman, when 
she suddenly hears the well-beloved sound of drums 
and trumpets. It is her own regiment, with Tonio as 
their leader, for he has been made an officer on ac- 
count of his brave behavior. Hoping that his altered 
position may turn the Marchesa^s heart in his favor, 
he again asks for Mary, but his suit is once more re- 
jected. Then he proposes flight, but the Marchesa, 
detecting his plan, reveals to Mary that she is not her 
niece, but her own daughter, born in early wedlock 
with an officer far beneath her in rank, who soon after 
died in battle. This fact she has concealed from her 
family, but as it is now evident that she has closer 
ties with Mary, the poor girl dares not disobey her, 
and, though broken-hearted, consents to renounce 
Tonio. 

The Marchesa invites a large company of guests to 
celebrate her daughter's betrothal to the son of a 
neighboring duchess. But Mary's faithful grenadiers 
suddenly appear to rescue her from those hateful ties, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 183 

and astonish the whole company by their recital of 
Mary's early history. The obedient maiden, however, 
submissive to her fate, is about to sign the marriage 
contract, when at last the Marchesa, touched by her 
obedience and her sufferings, conquers her own pride 
and consents to the union of her daughter with Tonio. 
Sulpice and his soldiers burst out into loud shouts of 
approbation, and the high-born guests retire silently 
and in disgust. 



DIE FLEDERMAUS 
(The Bat) 

Comic Operetta in three acts by Johann Strauss. 
Text by Haffncr and Genee. 

A SERENADE, which is listened to by Adele, 
^^^ RosaHnd Eisenstein's maid, but is intended for 
her mistress, begins the first act. Adele has just re- 
ceived an invitation from her sister Ida to a grand en- 
tertainment to be given by a Russian prince, Orlovsky 
by name. She is longing to accept it, and attempts to 
get leave of absence for the evening from her mistress, 
when the latter enters, by telling her that an aunt of 
hers is ill, and wishes to see her. Rosalind, however, 
refuses to let Adele go out, and the maid disappears, 
pouting. While Rosalind is alone, her former singing- 
master and admirer Alfred suddenly turns up. He it 
was who had been serenading her, and Rosalind, suc- 
cumbing to her old weakness for tenors, promises to 
let Alfred return later, when her husband is not at 
home. Herr Eisenstein, a banker, has just been sen- 
tenced to five days* imprisonment, a misfortune which 
his hot temper has brought upon him. The sentence 



1 84 THE OPERA 

has been prolonged to eight days through the stupidity 
of his lawyer, Dr. Blind, who follows Eisenstein on to 
the stage. The banker finally turns Dr. Blind out of 
the house, after upbraiding him violently. Rosalind 
tries to console Eisenstein, and finally decides to see 
what a good supper will do toward soothing his ruf- 
fled spirits. While she is thus occupied Eisenstein's 
friend Dr. Falck appears, bringing his unlucky friend 
an invitation to an elegant soiree which Prince Orlov- 
sky is about to give. Eisenstein is quite ready to en- 
joy himself before going to prison, and when Rosalind 
reenters she finds her husband in excellent spirits. He 
does not, however, partake of the delicious supper she 
sets before him with any great zest. But he takes a 
tender, although almost joyful, leave of his wife, after 
donning his best dress-suit. Rosalind then gives 
Adele leave to go out, much to the maid's surprise. 
After Adele has gone, Alfred again puts in an appear- 
ance. Rosalind only wishes to hear him sing again, 
and is both shocked and frightened when Alfred goes 
into Herr Eisenstein's dressing-room, and returns clad 
in the banker's dressing-gown and cap. The tenor 
then proceeds to partake of what is left of the supper, 
and makes himself altogether at home. But a sudden 
ring at the door announces the arrival of Franck, the 
governor of the prison, who has come with a cab to 
fetch Eisenstein. Rosalind is so terrified at being found 
tete-a-tete with Alfred that she introduces him as her 
husband. After a tender farewell Alfred good-na- 
turedly follows the governor to prison. 

The second act opens in the garden of a cafe, where 
the guests of Prince Orlovsky are assembled. Adele 
enters, dressed in her mistress's best gown and look- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 185 

ing very smart. Eisenstein, who is also present, at 
once recognizes her, as well as his wife's finery. But 
Adele and the whole party pretend to be very indignant 
at his mistaking a fine lady for a maid. Prince Or- 
lovsky proceeds to make Eisenstein most uncomfor- 
table, by telling him that Dr. Falck has promised to 
afford him great amusement, by playing some practi- 
cal joke at Eisenstein's expense. The last guest who 
enters is Rosalind, whom nobody recognizes, because 
she is masked. Dr. Falck introduces her as a Hun- 
garian countess, who has consented to be present at 
the soiree only on condition that her incognito be 
respected. She catches just a glimpse of Eisenstein, 
who is flirting violently with Adele instead of being in 
prison, and determines to punish him. Noticing the 
magnificent attire and fine form of the supposed coun- 
tess, Eisenstein at once devotes himself to the new- 
comer. He even counts her heart-beats with the aid 
of a watch which he keeps for that purpose, without, 
however, giving it away as he always promises to do. 
But RosaUnd suddenly takes possession of the watch, 
and slips away with it. The whole party finally as- 
sembles at supper, where Eisenstein becomes very 
jovial, and tells how he once attended a masquerade 
ball with his friend Falck, who was disguised as a bat. 
Eisenstein, it appears, induced his friend to drink so 
heavily that he fell asleep in the street, where Eisen- 
stein left him. Falck did not wake up till morning, 
when he had to go home amid the jeers of a street 
crowd, by whom he was nicknamed "Dr. Fledermaus." 
Eisenstein's story creates much amusement, but Dr. 
Falck only smiles, saying that he who laughs last, 
laughs best. 



i86 THE OPERA 

After a champagne supper and some dancing, Eisen- 
stein remembers, when the clock strikes six, that he 
ought to be in prison. Both he and Dr. Falck take a 
merry leave of the boisterous party. 

The third act begins with Franck's return to his own 
room, where he is received by the jailer. Frosch has 
taken advantage of his master's absence to get drunk, 
while Franck himself has likewise become somewhat 
intoxicated. He grows drowsy while recalling the in- 
cidents of Prince Orlovsky's fete, and finally falls fast 
asleep. 

Adele and her sister Ida interrupt his slumbers, in 
order to ask the supposed marquis to use his influence 
in the former's behalf. Adele confesses that she is in 
reality a lady's maid, but tries to convince Franck, the 
supposed marquis, and her sister (who is a ballet 
dancer), of her talents by showing them what she can 
do in that line. A loud ring soon puts an end to the 
performance. While the jailer conducts Adele and 
Ida to No. 13, Eisenstein arrives and gives himself up. 
Franck and he are much surprised to find themselves 
face to face with each other in prison, after each had 
been led to suppose the other a marquis, at the fete. 
They are naturally much amused to learn each other's 
identity. Meanwhile Dr. Blind enters, to undertake 
the defense of the impostor Eisenstein. He proves to 
be the genuine Eisenstein, who again turns Blind out 
of doors, and possesses himself of his cap and gown 
and of his spectacles, in which he interviews his double. 
Alfred has been brought in from his cell, when Rosa- 
lind also enters, carrying her husband's watch, and 
prepared for revenge. Both Alfred and she alternately 
State their grievances to the supposed lawyer, who 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 187 

quite loses his temper when he learns of Alfred's tete-a- 
tete with his wife, and how completely she has fooled 
him. Throwing off his disguise, he reveals his iden- 
tity, only to be reviled by his wife for his treachery. He 
in turn vows to revenge himself on Rosalind and on her 
admirer, but the entrance of Dr. Falck, followed by 
all the guests who were at Prince Orlovsky's fete, 
clears up matters for all concerned. While making 
fun of the discomfited Eisenstein, he explains that 
the whole thing is a huge practical joke of his invention 
which he has played on Eisenstein in return for the 
trick Eisenstein played on him years ago, which he 
related at the fete. All the guests had been bidden to 
the fete by Dr. Falck with the consent of the prince in 
order to deceive Eisenstein. The latter, when con- 
vinced of his wife's innocence, embraces her. All 
toast one another in champagne, which they declare to 
be the king of wines. 

DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER 
(The Flying Dutchman) 

Romantic Opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. 

nPHE Flying Dutchman is a sort of Wandering Jew, 
^ condemned to sail forever on the seas until he 
has found a woman whose love to him is faithful unto 
deatli. 

In the first act we find ourselves by the high seas. 
Daland, a Norwegian skipper, has met with several 
misforttmes on his way home, and is compelled to an- 
chor on a deserted shore. There he finds the Flying 
Dutchman, who vainly roves from sea to sea to find 
death and with it peace. His only hope is doomsday. 



i88 THE OPERA 

He has never found a maiden faithful to him, and he 
knows not how often and how long he has vainly tried 
to be released from his doom. Once in every seven 
years he is allowed to go on shore and seek a wife. 
This time has now come again, and hearing from Da- 
land that he has a daughter, sweet and pure, he begins 
to hope once more, and offers all his wealth to the 
father for a shelter under the Norwegian's roof and 
for the liand of his daughter Senta. Daland is only 
too glad to accept for his child what to him seems an 
immense fortune, and so they sail home together. 

In the second act we find Senta in the spinning-room. 
The servants of the house are together spinning and 
singing. Senta is among them, but her wheel does 
not turn ; she is dreamily regarding an old picture. It 
is that of the Flying Dutchman, whose legend so deep- 
ly touches her that she has grown to love its hero 
without having in reality seen him. 

Senta has a wooer already in the person of Erik the 
hunter, but she does not care much for him. With deep 
feeling she sings to the spinning maidens the ballad of 
the doomed man as she has heard it from Mary, her 
nurse : 

An old captain wanted to sail round the Cape of 
Good Hope, and as the wind was against him, he swore 
a terrible oath that he never would leave off trying. 
The devil heard him and doomed him to sail on to 
eternity, but God's angel had pity on him, and showed 
him how he could fmd deliverance through a wife 
faithful unto the grave. 

All the maidens pray to God to let the maiden be 
found at last, when Senta ecstatically exclaims, *'I will 
be his wife!" At this moment her father's ship is an- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 189 

nounced. Senta is about to run away to welcome him, 
but is detained by Erik, who tries to win her for him- 
self. She answers evasively; then Daland enters and 
with him a dark and gloomy stranger. Senta stands 
spellbound : she recognizes the hero of her picture. The 
Dutchman is not less impressed, seeing in her the an- 
gel of his dreams and as it were his deliverer ; and so, 
meeting by the guidance of a superior power, they 
seem created for each other, and Senta, accepting the 
offer of his hand, swears to him eternal fidelity. 

In the third act we see the Flying Dutchman's ship ; 
everybody recognizes it by its black mast and its blood- 
red sail. The Norwegian sailors call loudly to the mari- 
ners of the strange ship, but nothing stirs, everything 
seems dead and haunted. At last the unearthly inhabi- 
tants of the Dutch ship awake ; they are old and gray 
and wrinkled, all doomed to the fate of their captain. 
They begin a wild and gloomy song, which sends a 
chill into the hearts of the stout Norwegians. 

Meanwhile Erik, beholding in Senta the betrothed of 
the Dutchman, is in despair. Imploring her to turn 
back, he calls up old memories and at last charges her 
with infidelity to him. 

As soon as the Dutchman hears this accusation he 
turns from Senta, feeling that he is again lost. But 
Senta will not break her faith. Seeing the Dutchman 
fly from her, ready to sail away, she swiftly runs after 
him and throws herself from the cliflF into the waves. 

By this sacrifice the spell is broken, the ghostly ship 
sinks forever into the ocean, and an angel bears the 
poor wanderer to eternal rest, where he is reunited to 
the bride who has proved faithful unto death. 



190 THE OPERA 

FRA DIAVOLO 
(Brother Devil) 

G)mic Opera in three acts by Daniel F. E. Auber. 

Text by Scribe. 

THE scene is laid at Terracina in Italy. Fra Dia- 
volo is a celebrated and much- feared chief of 
brigands. The Roman court of justice has set a price 
of 10,000 piasters on his head. In the first act we meet 
with the Roman soldiers, who undertake to win the 
money. Their captain Lorenzo has a double aim in 
trying to catcli the brigand. He is Zerline's lover, but 
having no money, Zerline's father Matteo, the owner 
of a hotel, threatens to give her to a rich farmer's son. 
Meanwhile Fra Diavolo has forced his society on a 
rich English lord. Cockbum by name, who is on his 
wedding tour with his fair young wife Pamela. Lord 
Cockbum looks jealously at Fra Diavolo, though he 
does not recognize in him a brigand. The English are 
robbed by Diavolo's band. Disgusted with the inse- 
curity of **la bcUa Italia," they reach the inn at Terra- 
cina, where the dragoons, hearing the account of this 
new robbery, believe that it was Fra Diavolo with his 
band, and at once decide to pursue him. 

Shortly afterward Fra Diavolo arrives at the inn 
disguised as the Marquis of San Marco, under which 
name the English lord has already made his acquaint- 
ance. He is not enchanted by the arrival of this mar- 
quis; he fears a new flirtation with his own fair wife. 
Pamela wears most valuable diamonds, and these strike 
the eye of Fra Diavolo. 

He sees that the English have been clever enough to 
conceal the greater part of their wealth and resolves to 
put himself speedily into possession of it. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 191 

He IS flirting desperately with Pamela, and looking 
tenderly at the pretty Zerline, when the soldiers return, 
having captured twenty of the brigands and retaken the 
greater part of Lord Cockburn's money and jewels. 
Lorenzo, the captain of the dragoons, is rewarded by 
the magnanimous lord with 10,000 lire, and may now 
hope to win Zerline*s hand. But Fra Diavolo vows to 
avenge the death of his comrades on Lorenzo. 

In the second act he conceals himself behind the cur- 
tains in Zerline's sleeping-room, and during the night 
he admits his two companions Beppo and Giacomo. 
Zerline enters and is about to retire to rest after pray- 
ing to the Holy Virgin for protection. During her 
sleep Giacomo is to stab her, while the two others are 
to rob the English lord. 

But Zerline's prayer and her innocence touch even 
the robbers. The deed is delayed, and this delay brings 
Lorenzo upon them. Fra Diavolo's two companions 
hide themselves, and the false marquis alone is found in 
Zerline's room. He assures Lorenzo that he had a ren- 
dezvous with his bride, and at the same time whispers 
into the lord's ear that he came by appointment with 
his lady, showing her portrait, of which he had robbed 
her the day before, as proof. The consequence of these 
lies is a challenge from Lorenzo, and a meeting with 
Diavolo is fixed. The latter is full of triumphant glee ; 
he has arranged a deep-laid plan with the surviving 
members of his band and hopes to ensnare not only 
Lorenzo but his whole company. Ordinarily Diavolo 
is a noble brigand; he never troubles women, and he 
loads poor people with gifts, taking the gold out of 
rich men's purses only; but now he is full of ire and 
his one thought is of vengeance. 



192 THE OPERA 

Finally he is betrayed by the carelessness of his own 
helpmates. Beppo and Giacomo, seeing Zcrline, recog- 
nize in her their fair prey of the evening before and 
betray themselves by repeating some of the words 
which she had given utterance to, Zerlinc, hearing 
them, is now able to comprehend the wicked plot 
which was woven to destroy her happiness. The two 
banditti are captured and compelled to lure their cap- 
tain into a trap. Diavolo appears, not in his disguise 
as a marquis, but in his own well-known dress with the 
red plume waving from his bonnet, and being assured 
by Beppo that all is secure, is easily captured. Now 
all the false imputations are cleared up. Milord is 
reconciled to his wife and Lorenzo obtains the hand 
of the lovely Zerline. 

Scribe's text, which is full of Ufe and witty passages, 
largely shares in the qualities that make this opera the 
most popular of Auber's works. 

DER FREISCHUTZ 
(The Free Shot) 

Romantic Opera in three acts by Karl M. von Weber. 

Text by Kind. 

A YOUXG huntsman, Max, is in love with Agathe, 
'^^^ daughter of Kuno, the chief ranger of Prince Ot- 
tokar of Bohemia. Max woos her; but their union 
depends on a master-shot wdiich he is to deliver on the 
following morning. 

During the village festival he has all day been im- 
lucky in shooting, and we see him, full of anger and 
sorrow, being mocked at by peasants more lucky than 
he. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 193 

His comrade, Caspar, one of the ranger's older 
huntsmen, is his evil genius. He has sold himself to the 
devil, is a gloomy, mysterious fellow, and hopes to save 
his soul by delivering some other victim to the demon. 
He wants to tempt Max to try enchanted bullets, to be 
obtained at the cross-roads during the midnight hour 
by drawing a magic circle with a bloody sword and 
invoking the name of the mysterious huntsman. Father 
Kuno, hearing him, drives him away, begging Max to 
think of his bride and to pray to God for success. 

But Max cannot forget the railleries of the peasants; 
he broods over his misfortunes, and when he is well- 
nigh despairing, Caspar, who meanwhile calls Samiel 
(the devil in person) to help, encourages him to take 
refuge in stimulants. He tries to intoxicate the un- 
happy lover by pouring drops from a vial into his wine. 
When Max has grown more and more excited, Caspar 
begins to tell him of nature's secret powers, which 
might help him. Max first struggles against the evil 
influence, but when Caspar, handing him his gun, lets 
him shoot an eagle soaring high in the air, his hunts- 
man's heart is elated and he wishes to become possessed 
of such a bullet. Caspar tells him that they are en- 
chanted and persuades him to a meeting in the Wolf's 
Glen at midnight, where the bullets may be molded. 

In the second act Agathe is with her cousin Aenn- 
chen. Agathe is the true German maiden, serious and 
thoughtful almost to melancholy. She presents a 
marked contrast to her light-hearted cousin, who tries 
to brighten Agathe with fun and frolic. They adorn 
themselves with roses which Agathe received from a 
holy hermit, who blessed her but warned her of im- 
I)ending evil. So Agathe is full of dread forebodings, 



194 THE OPERA 

and after Aennchen's departure she fervently prays to 
Heaven for her beloved. When she sees him come to 
her through the forest with flowers on his hat, her 
fears vanish and she greets him joyously. But Max 
only answers hurriedly that, having killed a stag in the 
Wolf's Glen, he is obliged to return there. Agathe, 
filled with terror at the mention of this ill-famed name, 
wants to keep him back, but ere she can detain him he 
has fled. With hurried steps Max approaches the 
Wolf's Glen, where Caspar is already occupied in 
forming circles of black stones, in the midst of which 
he places a skull, an eagle's wing, a crucible, and a 
bullet-mold. Caspar then calls on Samiel, invoking 
him to allow him a few more years on earth. To- 
morrow is the day appointed for Satan to take his 
soul, but Caspar promises to surrender Max in ex- 
change. Samiel, who appears through the cleft of a 
rock, agrees to let him have six of the fatal balls, re- 
serving only the seventh for himself. 

Caspar then proceeds to make the bullets. Max only 
looking on, stunned and remorseful at what he sees. 
His mother's spirit appears to him, but he is already 
under the influence of the charm; he cannot move. 
The proceeding goes forward amid hellish noise. A 
hurricane arises, flames and devilish forms flicker 
about, wild and horrible creatures rush by and others 
follow in hot pursuit. The noise grows worse, the 
earth seems to quake, until at length, after Caspar's 
reiterated invocations, Samiel shows himself at the 
word "seven." Max and Caspar both make the sign 
of the cross, and fall on their knees more dead than 
alive. 

In the third act we find Agathe waiting for her 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i95 

bridesmaids. She is perturbed and sad, having had 
frightful dreams and not knowing what has become 
of Max. Aennchen consoles her, diverting her with a 
merry song, until the bridesmaids enter, bringing flow- 
ers and gifts. They prepare to crown her with the 
bridal wreath, when, instead of the myrtle there lies in 
the box a wreath of white roses, the ornament of the 
dead. 

Meanwhile everybody is assembled on the lawn near 
Prince Ottokar's tent to be present at the firing of the 
master-shot. The Prince points out to Max a white 
dove as an object at which to aim. At this critical 
moment Agathe appears, crying out: "Don't shoot. 
Max, I am the white dove !" But it was too late ; Max 
has fired, and Agathe sinks down at the same time as 
Caspar, who has been waiting behind a tree and who 
now falls heavily to the ground, while the dove flies 
away unhurt. Everybody believes that Max has shot 
his bride, but she is only in a swoon; the bullet has 
really killed the villain Caspar. It was the seventh, 
the direction of which Samiel reserved for himself, 
and Satan, having no power over the pious maiden, 
directed it on Caspar, already forfeited to him. Max 
confesses his sin with deep remorse. The Prince 
scornfully bids him leave his dominions forever. But 
Agathe prays for him, and at last the Prince follows 
the hermit's advice, giving the unhappy youth a year 
of probation, during which to prove his repentance 
and grow worthy of his virtuous bride. 



196 THE OPERA 

GENOVEVA 

Opera in four acts by Robert Schumann. 
Text after Hebbel and Tieck. 

OIEGFRIED, Count of the Palatinate, is ordered 
**^ by Charles Mattel to join him in the war with the 
infidels, who broke out of Spain under Abdurrahman. 
The noble Count recommends his wife Genoveva and 
all he possesses to the protection of his friend Golo, 
who is, however, secretly in love with his master's 
wife. After Siegfried has said farewell she falls into 
a swoon, which Golo takes advantage of to kiss her, 
thereby still further exciting his flaming passion. Geno- 
veva finally awakes and goes away to mourn in silence 
for her husband. 

Golo being alone, an old hag, Margarethe, whom he 
takes for his nurse, comes to console him. She is in 
reality his mother and has great schemes for her son's 
future happiness. She insinuates to him that Geno- 
veva, being alone, needs consolation and will easily be 
led on to accept more tender attentions, and she prom- 
ises him her assistance. The second act shows Gcno- 
veva's room. She longs sadly for her husband and 
sees with pain and disgust the insolent behavior of the 
servants, whose wild songs penetrate into her silent 
chamber. 

Golo enters to bring her the news of a great victory 
over Abdurrahman, which fills her heart with joy. She 
bids Golo sing, and sweetly accompanies his song, 
which so fires his passion that he falls upon his knees 
and frightens her by glowing words. Vainly she bids 
him leave her; he only grows more excited, till she 
repulses him with the word "bastard." Now his love 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 197 

turns into hatred, and when Drago, the faithful stew- 
ard, comes to announce that the servants begin to be 
more and more insolent, daring even to insult the good 
name of the Countess, Golo asserts that they speak the 
truth about her. He persuades the incredulous Drago 
to hide himself in Genoveva's room, the latter having 
retired for the night's rest. 

Margarethe, listening at the door, hears everything. 
She tells Golo that Count Siegfried lies wounded at 
Strasburg; she has intercepted his letter to the Coun- 
tess and prepares to leave for that town, in order to 
nurse the Count and kill him slowly by some deadly 
poison. Then Golo calls quickly for the servants, who 
all assemble to penetrate into their mistress's room. 
Full of wounded pride, she repulses them, but at last 
she yields, and herself taking the candle to light the 
room, proceeds to search, when Drago is found be- 
hind the curtains and at once silenced by Golo, who 
runs his dagger through his heart. Genoveva is led 
into the prison of the castle. 

The third act takes place at Strasburg, where Sieg- 
fried is being nursed by Margarethe. His strength de- 
fies her perfidy, and he is full of impatience to return 
to his loving wife, when Golo enters bringing him the 
news of her faithlessness. 

Siegfried, in despair, bids Golo kill her with his own 
sword. He decides to fly into the wilderness, but be- 
fore fulfilling his design, he goes once more to Mar- 
garethe, who has promised to show him all that passed 
at home during his absence. He sees Genoveva in a 
magic looking-glass, exchanging kindly words with 
Drago, but there is no appearance of guilt in their 
intercourse. The third image shows Genoveva sleep- 



198 THE OPERA 

ing on her couch, and Drago approaching her. With 
an imprecation Siegfried starts up, bidding Golo avenge 
him, but at the same instant the glass flies in pieces 
with a terrible crash, and Drago's ghost stands before 
Margarethe, commanding her to tell Siegfried the 

truth. 

In the fourth act Genoveva is being led into the wil- 
derness by two ruffians, who have orders to murder her. 
Before this is done, Golo approaches her once more, 
showing her Siegfried's ring and sword, with which 
he has been told to kill her. He tries hard to win her, 
but she turns from him with scorn and loathing, pre- 
ferring death to dishonor. At length, relinquishing 
liis attempts, he beckons to the murderers to do their 
work and hands them Count Siegfried's weapon. Geno- 
veva in her extreme need seizes the cross of the Sa- 
viour, praying fervently, and detains the ruffians till, at 
the last moment, Siegfried appears, led by the re- 
pentant Margarethe. There ensues a touching scene 
of forgiveness, while Golo rushes away to meet his 
fate by falling over a precipice. 

GOTTERDAMMERUNG 
(Twilight of the Gods) 

Third Day of the Nibclungen Ring by Richard Wagner. 

'''PHE third day in Wagner's great tetralogy opens 
^ with a prelude showing the three Norns weaving 
the world's fate. When the cord breaks, they fly; 
the dawn of another world is upon them. 

In the first act Siegfried bids Brunnhilde farewell. 
His active soul thirsts for deeds, and Brunnhilde, hav- 
ing taught him all she knows, does not detain him. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE i99 

He gives her the fatal ring in token of remembrance, 
confiding her to the care of Loge. Then we are trans- 
ported to the Gibichungs* hall on the Rhine. Gunther 
and his sister Gutrune sit there together with their 
gloomy half-brother Hagen. The latter advises his 
brother to marry, telling him of the beautiful woman 
guarded by the flames. When he has sufficiently ex- 
cited Gunther's longing, he suggests that, as Siegfried 
is the only one able to gain Briinnhilde, Gunther should 
attach him to his person by giving him Gutrune as 
wife. This is to be achieved by a draught which has 
the power of causing oblivion. Whoever drinks it 
forgets that ever a woman has existed besides the 
one who has tendered the potion. Hagen well knows of 
Siegfried's union with Brunnhilde, but Gunther and 
Gutrune are both ignorant of it. 

Siegfried arrives and is heartily welcomed. All 
turns out as Hagen has foretold. By the fatal potion 
Siegfried falls passionately in love with Gutrune so 
that he completely forgets Briinnhilde. He swears 
blood-brothership to Gunther, and promises to win 
Briinnhilde for him. Then the two depart on their 
errand. 

Meanwhile the Valkyr Waltraute comes to Briinn- 
hilde and beseeches her to render Siegfried's ring to 
the Rhine-daughters in order to save the gods from 
destruction. Briinnhilde refuses to part with the token 
of her husband's love; and hardly has Waltraute de- 
parted than fate overtakes her in the person of Sieg- 
fried, who ventures through the flames in Gunther's 
shape. She vainly struggles against him, he snatches 
the ring from her, and so she is conquered. Siegfried 
holds vigil through the night, his sword separating 



200 THE OPERA 

him and the woman he wooed ; and in the early dawn 
he leads her away to her bridegroom, who takes Sieg- 
fried's place unawares. 

In the second act Alberich appears to Hagen. He 
tells his son of the story of the ring and bids him kill 
Siegfried and recover the stolen treasure for its owner. 
Siegfried appears announcing Gunther's and Brunn- 
hilde's arrival. The bridal pair are received by all 
their men, but the joy is soon damped by Briinnhilde 
recogTiizing in the bridegroom of Gutrune her own 
husband. Siegfried does not know her, but she dis- 
covers her ring on his hand, and as she asserts that 
Gunther won it from her, this hero is obliged to ac- 
knowledge the shameful role he played. Though Sieg- 
fried swears that his sword Nothung guarded him from 
any contact with Gunther's bride, Brunnhilde responds 
in a most startling manner, and both swear on Hagen 's 
spear that it may pierce them should their words prove 
false. All this makes a dreadful impression on the 
weak mind of Gunther. 

When Siegfried has withdrawn in high spirits with 
his bride Gutrune, Hagen. hoping to gain the ring, 
offers to avenge Brunnhilde on the faithless Siegfried. 
Briinnhilde, in her deadly wrath, betrays to him the 
only vulnerable spot beneath Siegfried's shoulder. 
Gunther consents reluctantly to their schemes. 

The third act opens with a scene on the Rhine. The 
Rhine-daughters try to persuade Siegfried to render 
them the ring. He is about to throw it into the water 
when they warn him of the evil which will befall 
him should he refuse their request. This awakens his 
pride. Laughing, he turns from them, he, the fearless 
hero. His fellow-hunters overtake him, and while he 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 201 

relates to them the story of his Hfe Hagen mixes an 
herb with his wine, which enables him to remember all 
he has forgotten. Hagen then treacherously drives his 
spear into Siegfried's back, killing him. He dies with 
Briinnhilde's praise on his lips. The funeral march, 
which here follows, is one of the most beautiful ever 
written. When the dead hero is brought to the Gibi- 
chungs' hall, Gutrune bewails him loudly. A dispute 
arises between Hagen and Gunthcr about the ring, 
which ends by Hagen slaying Gunther. But when 
Hagen tries to strip the ring off the dead hand the fin- 
gers close themselves and the hand raises itself, bear- 
ing testimony against the murderer. Briinnhilde ap- 
pears to mourn for the dead ; slie drives away Gutrune, 
who sees too late that under the influence of the fatal 
draught Siegfried forgot his lawful wife, whom she 
now recognizes in Briinnhilde. The latter, taking a long 
farewell of her dead husband, orders a funeral pile to 
be erected. As soon as Siegfried's body is placed on it, 
she lights it with a firebrand, and when it is in full 
blaze she mounts her faithful steed, leaping with it 
into the flames. 

When the tire sinks the Rhine-daughters are seen to 
snatch the ring, whidi is now purified from its curse 
by Briinnhilde's death. 

Hagen, trying to wrench it from them, is drawn into 
the waves and so dies. 

A dusky H^^lit, like that of a new dawn, spreads over 
heaven, and tlirougli a mist X'alhalla, with all the gods 
passing away, may be perceived, in flames. 



ao2 THE OPERA 

GUILLAUME TELL 

Grand Opera in three acts by Gioachino Antonio Rossini. 

Text by Bis and Jouoy. 

THE text IS founded on the. well-known story of 
William Tell, who, according to tradition, de- 
livered his fatherland from one of its most cruel 
despots, the Austrian governor Gessler. 

The first act opens with a charming introductory 
chorus by peasants, who are celebrating a nuptial fete. 
Tell joins in their pleasures, though he cannot help 
giving utterance to the pain which the Austrian tyran- 
ny causes him. Arnold von Melchthal, son of an old 
Swiss, has conceived an unhappy passion for Mathilda, 
Princess of Hapsburg, whose life he once saved; but 
he is Swiss and resolves to be true to his country. He 
promises Tell to join in his efforts to liberate it. Mean- 
while, Leuthold, a Swiss peasant, comes up. He is a 
fugitive, having killed an Austrian soldier to revenge 
an intended abduction of his daughter. His only safety 
lies in crossing the lake, but no fisherman dares to row 
out in the face of the coming storm. Tell steps forth, 
and seizing the oars brings Leuthold safely to the op- 
posite shore. When Rudolf von Harras appears witli 
his soldiers, his prey has escaped, and nobody being 
willing to betray the deliverer, old father Melchthal is 
imprisoned. 

In the second act we find the Princess Mathilda re- 
turning from a hunt. She meets Arnold and they 
betray their mutual passion. Arnold does not yet 
know his father's fate, but presently Tell enters with 
Walther Furst, who informs Arnold that his father has 
fallen a victim to the Austrian tyranny. Arnold, cruel- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 203 

ly roused from his love-dream, awakes to duty, and 
the three men vow bloody vengeance. This is the 
famous oath taken on the Riitli. The deputies of the 
three cantons arrive, one after the other, and Tell 
makes them swear solemnly to establish Switzerland's 
independence. Excited by Arnold's dreadful account 
of his father's murder, they all unite in the fierce cry 
"To arms !" which is to be their signal of combat. 

In the third act Gessler arrives at the market-place 
of Altdorf, where he has placed his hat on a pole to 
be greeted instead of himself by the Swiss who pass 
by. 

They grumble at this new proof of arrogance, but 
dare not disobey the order, till Tell, passing by with 
his son, disregards it. Refusing to salute the hat, he 
is instantly taken and commanded by Gessler to shoot 
an apple off his little boy's head. After a dreadful in- 
ward struggle, Tell submits. Fervently praying to 
God and embracing his fearless son, he shoots with 
steady hand, hitting the apple right in the center. But 
Gessler has seen a second arrow, which Tell has hidden 
in his breast, and he asks its purpose. Tell freely 
confesses that he would have shot the tyrant had he 
missed his aim. Tell is fettered, Mathilda vainly ap- 
pealing for mercy. But Gessler's time has come. The 
Swiss begin to revolt. Mathilda herself begs to be ad- 
mitted into their alliance of free citizens, and offers 
her hand to Arnold. The fortresses of the oppressors 
fall; Tell enters free and victorious, having himself 
killed Gessler; and in a chorus at once majestic and 
grand the Swiss celebrate the day of their liberation. 



204 THE OPERA 

HANS HEILING 

Romantic Opera in three acts, with a prelude, by Heinrich 
Nfarschner. Text by Devrient 

TTANS HEILING, King of the gnomes, has fallen 
-*• '■^ in love with a daughter of the earth, the charm- 
ing Anna. This maiden, a poor country girl in the 
first freshness of youth, has been induced by her 
mother to consent to a betrothal with the rich stranger, 
whom Anna esteems, but nothing more, her heart not 
yet having been touched by love. 

In the prelude we are introduced into the depths of 
earth, where the gnomes work and toil incessantly 
carrying glittering stones, gold and silver, and accumu- 
lating all the treasures on which men's hearts are set. 

Their King announces to them that he will no 
longer be one of theirs ; he loves, and therefore he re- 
signs his crown. All the passionate entreatings of his 
mother and of the gnomes are of no avail. At the 
Queen's bidding he takes with him a magic book, with- 
out which he would lose his power over the gnomes. 
After giving him a set of luminous diamonds, the 
mother parts with her son — HeiHng rejoicing in his 
heart, the Queen in tears and sorrow. 

In the first act Heiling arises from the earth, for- 
ever closing the entrance to the gnomes. Anna greets 
him joyously and Gertrud, her mother, heartily sec- 
onds tlie welcome. Heiling gives his bride a golden 
chain, and Anna, adorning herself, thinks with pleas- 
ure how much she will be looked at and envied by her 
companions. She fain would show herself at once, 
and begs Heiling to visit a public festival with her. But 
Heiling, by nature serious and almost taciturn, refuses 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 205 

her request. Anna pouts, but she forgets her grief 
when she sees the curious signs of erudition in her 
lover's room. As she looks over the magic book, the 
leaves turn by themselves, quicker and quicker; the 
strange signs seem to grow, to threaten her, until, 
stricken with horrible fear, she cries out, and Heiling, 
turning to her, sees too late what she has done. Angry 
at her curiosity, he pushes her away, but she clings to 
him with fervent entreaties to destroy the dreadful 
book. His love conquers his reason, and he throws the 
last link which connects him with his past into the fire. 
A deep thunder-peal is heard. Anna thanks him heart- 
ily, but from this hour the seed of fear and distrust 
grows in her heart. 

Heiling, seeing her still uneasy, agrees to visit the 
festival with her upon condition that she refrains from 
dancing. She gladly promises, but as soon as they 
come to the festival Anna is surrounded by the village 
lads, who entreat her to dance. They dislike the 
stranger, who has won the fairest maiden of the vil- 
lage, and Conrad the hunter, who has long loved Anna, 
is particularly hard on his rival. He mocks him, feel- 
ing that Heiling is not what he seems, and tries to lure 
Anna away from his side. At last Heiling grows an- 
gry, forbidding Anna once more to dance. She is 
wounded by his words and, telling him abruptly that 
she is not married yet, and that she never will be his 
slave, she leaves him. In despair Heiling sees her 
go away with Conrad, dancing and frolicking. 

In the second act we find Anna in the forest. She is 
in a deep reverie ; her heart has spoken, but alas ! not 
for her bridegroom, whom she now fears ; it beats only 
for Conrad, who has owned his love to her. Darkness 



ao6 THE OPERA 

comes on, and the gnomes appear with their Queen, 
who reveals to the frightened girl the origin of her 
bridegroom and entreats her to give back the son to 
his poor bereft mother. When the gnomes have dis- 
appeared, Conrad overtakes Anna, and she tells him 
all, asking his help against her mysterious bridegroom. 
Conrad, seeing that she returns his love, is happy. He 
has just obtained a good situation and will now be 
able to wed her. 

He accompanies her home, where Gertrud welcomes 
them joyously, having feared that Anna had met with 
an accident in the forest. 

While the lovers are together, Heiling enters, bring- 
ing the bridal jewels. Mother Gertrud is dazzled, but 
Anna shrinks from her bridegroom. When he asks 
for an explanation, she tells him that she knows of his 
origin. Then all his hopes die within him; but, de- 
termined that his rival shall not be happy at his cost, he 
hurls his dagger at Conrad and takes flight. 

In the last act Heiling is alone in a ravine in the 
mountains. He has sacrificed everything and gained 
nothing. Sadly he decides to return to the gnomes. 
They appear at his bidding, but they make him feel 
that he no longer has any power over them, and by way 
of adding still further to his sorrows they tell him 
that his rival lives and is about to wed Anna. Then 
indeed all seems lost to the poor dethroned King. In 
despair and repentance he casts himself to the earth. 
But the gnomes, seeing that he really has abandoned 
all earthly hopes, swear fealty to him once more and 
return with him to their Queen, by whom he is received 
with open arms. 

Meanwhile Conrad, who only received a slight 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 207 

wound from Heiling's dagger and has speedily re- 
covered, has fixed his wedding day and we see Anna, 
the happy bride, in the midst of her companions, pre- 
pared to go to church with her lover. But when she 
looks about her, Heiling is at her side, come to take 
revenge. Conrad would fain aid her, but his sword 
breaks before it touches Heiling, who invokes the help 
of his gnomes. They appear, but at the same mo- 
ment the Queen is seen, exhorting her son to pardon 
and to forget. He willingly follows her away into his 
kingdom of night and darkness, never to see earth's 
surface again. The anxious peasants once more 
breathe freely and join in common thanks to God. 

HANSEL UND GRETEL 

Fairy Opera in three acts by Engelbert Humperdinck. 

Text by Wette. 

T"'HE first act represents the miserable little hut of 
^ a broom-maker. Hansel is occupied in binding 
brooms, Gretel is knitting and singing old nursery- 
songs, such as "Susy, dear Susy, what rattles in the 
straw?" Both children are very hungry, and wait 
impatiently for the arrival of their parents. Hansel is 
particularly bad-tempered, but the merry and practical 
Gretel, finding some milk in a pot, soon soothes his 
ruffled feelings by the promise of a nice rice-pap in 
the evening. Forgetting work and hunger, they begin 
to dance and frolic until they roll on the ground to- 
gether. At this moment their mother enters, and see- 
ing the children idle, her wrath is kindled and she 
rushes at them with the intention of giving them a 
sound whipping. Alas ! instead of Hansel, she strikes 



2o8 THE OPERA 

the pot and upsets the milk. The mother's vexation 
cools and only sorrow remains, but she quickly puts a 
little basket into GreteFs hands and drives the children 
away, bidding them look for strawberries in the woods. 
Then, sinking on a chair utterly exhausted, she falls 

asleep. 

She is awakened by her husband, who comes in sing- 
ing and very gay. She sees that he has had a drop 
too much, and is about to reproach him, but the words 
die on her lips when she sees him unfold his treasure, 
consisting of eggs, sausages, coffee, etc. He tells 
her that he has been very fortunate at the church-ale 
(kermess), and bids her prepare supper at once. Alas ! 
the pot is broken, and the mother relates that, finding 
the children idle, anger got the better of her and the 
pot was smashed to pieces. He good-naturedly laughs 
at her discomfiture, but his merriment is changed to 
grief when he hears that their children are still in the 
forest, perhaps even near the Ilsenstein, where the 
wicked fairy lives who entices children in order to 
bake and devour them. This thought so alarms the 
parents that they rush off to seek the children in the 
forest. 

The second act is laid near the ill-famed Ilsenstein. 
Hansel has filled his basket with strawberries and 
Gretel is winding a garland of red hips, with which 
Hansel crowns her. He presents her also with a 
bunch of wild flowers and playfully does homage to 
this queen of the woods. Gretel, enjoying the play, 
pops one berry after another into her brother's mouth ; 
then they both eat while listening to the cuckoo. Be- 
fore they are aware of it they have eaten the whole 
contents of the basket and observe with terror that it 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 209. 

has grown too dark either to look for a fresh supply 
or to find their way home. Gretel begins to weep and 
to call for her parents, but Hansel, rallying his courage, 
takes her in his arms and soothes her until they both 
grow sleepy. The sandman comes, throwing his sand 
into their eyes, but before their lids close they say their 
evening prayer ; then they fall asleep and the fourteen 
guardian angels, whose protection they invoked, are 
seen stepping down the heavenly ladder to guard their 
slumber. 

In the third act the morning dawns. Crystal drops 
are showered on the children by the angel of the dew ; 
Gretel opens her eyes first and wakes her brother with 
a song. They are still entranced by the beautiful an- 
gel-dream they have had, when suddenly their atten- 
tion is aroused by the sight of a little house made en- 
tirely of cake and sugar. Approaching it on tiptoe 
they begin to break off little bits, but a voice within 
calls out, "Tip, tap, tip, tap, who raps at my house?*' 
"The wind, the wind, the heavenly child,** they answer, 
continuing to eat and to laugh, nothing daunted. But 
the door opens softly and out glides the witch, who 
quickly throws a rope around Hansel's throat. Urging 
the children to enter her house she tells her name, 
Rosina Sweet-tooth. The frightened children try to 
escape, but the fairy raises her staff and by a magic 
charm keeps them spellbound. She imprisons Hansel 
in a small stable with a lattice door and gives him 
almonds and currants to eat, then turning to Gretel, 
who has stood rooted to the spot, she breaks the charm 
with a juniper-bough and compels her to enter the 
house and make herself useful. 

Believing Hansel to be asleep, she turns to the oven 



2IO THE OPERA 

and kindles the fire ; then, breaking into wild glee, she 
seizes a broom and rides on it round the house singing, 
Gretel all the while observing her keenly. Tired with 
her exertions the witch awakes Hansel and bids him 
show his finger, at which command Hansel stretches 
out a small piece of wood. Seeing him so thin, the 
witch calls for more food, and while she turns her 
back Gretel quickly takes up the juniper-bough and, 
speaking the formula, disenchants her brother. Mean- 
while the witch, turning to the oven, tells Gretel to 
creep into it in order to see if the honey-cakes are 
ready, but the little girl, aflFecting stupidity, begs her 
to show how she is to get in. The witch impatiently 
bends forward, and at the same moment Gretel, as- 
sisted by Hansel, who has escaped from his prison, 
pushes her into the hot oven and slams the iron door. 
The wicked witch burns to ashes, while the oven 
cracks and roars and finally falls to pieces. With 
astonishment the brother and sister see a long row of 
children, from whom the honey-crust has fallen off, 
standing stiff and stark. Gretel tenderly caresses one 
of them, who opens his eyes and smiles. She now 
touches them all, and Hansel, seizing the juniper- 
bough, works the charm and recalls them to new life. 
The cake-children thank them warmly, and they all 
proceed to inspect the treasures of the house, when 
Hansel hears their parents calling them. Great is the 
joy of father and mother at finding their beloved ones 
safe and in the possession of a sweet little house. The 
old sorceress is drawn out of the ruins of the oven in 
the form of an immense honey-cake, whereupon they 
all thank Heaven for having so visibly heloed and pro- 
tected them. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 211 

DAS HEIMCHEN AM HERD 
(The Cricket on the Hearth) 

Opera in three acts by Karl Goldmark. 
Text after Dickens's tale by Willncr. 

np HE scene is laid in an English village. The crick- 
^ et, a little fairy, lives with a postilion, John, and 
his wife Dot. They are a happy couple, the only thing 
wanting to their complete happiness being children, 
and even this ardent wish Dot knows will be fulfilled 
before long. 

A young doll-maker. May, visits Dot to unburden 
her heavy heart. The young girl is to marry her old 
and rich employer Tackleton, in order to save her fos- 
ter-father from want, but she cannot forget her old 
sweetheart, a sailor named Edward, who left her years 
ago, never to come back. Dot tries to console her, and 
gives her food for her old father. When May has 
taken leave. Dot's husband John enters, bringing a 
strange guest with him. 

It is Edward, who has, however, so disguised him- 
self that nobody recognizes him. Dot receives him 
hospitably, and while he follows her in another room, 
a very lively scene ensues, all the village people flock- 
ing in to receive their letters and parcels at John's 
hands. 

In the second act John rests from his labor in his 
garden, while Dot, who finds her husband, who is con- 
siderably older than herself, somewhat too self-confi- 
dent and phlegmatic, tries to make him appreciate her 
more by arousing his jealousy. While they thus talk 
and jest May enters, followed by her old suitor, who 
has already chosen the wedding ring for her. Edward 



212 THE OPERA 

listens to his wooing with ill-concealed anxiety, and 
Tackleton, not pleased to find a stranger in his friend's 
house, gruffly asks his name. The strange sailor tells 
him that he left his father and his sweetheart to seek 
his fortune elsewhere, and that he has come back rich 
and independent, only to find hi§ father dead and his 
sweetheart lost to him. His voice moves ^lay strange- 
ly, but Tackleton wants to see his riches. Edward 
shows them some fine jewels, which so delight Dot 
that she begins to adorn herself with them and to 
dance about the room. Edward presents her with a 
beautiful cross, and seizes the opportunity to reveal 
to her his identity, entreating her not to betray him. 
Then he turns to May, begging her to choose one of the 
trinkets, but Tackleton interferes, saying that his prom- 
ised bride does not need any jewels from strange peo- 
ple. Dot is greatly embarrassed, and Tackleton, mis- 
taking her agitation, believes that she has fallen in love 
with the sailor, and insinuates as much to her hus- 
band, whom he invites to have a glass of beer with 
him. 

This unusual generosity on the part of the avaricious 
old man excites the clever little wife's suspicion. May 
having withdrawn, she greets the friend of her youth 
with great ostentation (knowing herself secretly 
watched by John and Tackleton), and promises to help 
him to regain his sweetheart. John and his friend, 
who suddenly return, see them together, and poor old 
John gets wildly jealous. But when he is alone, he 
falls asleep and the faithful cricket prophetically shows 
him his wife fast asleep in a dream, while a little boy 
in miniature postilion's dress plays merrily in the back- 
ground. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 213 

In the third act Dot adorns May with the bridal 
wreath, but the girl is in a very sad mood. All at once 
she hears the sailor sing. Dot steals away, and May, 
vividly reminded of her old love by the song, decides 
to refuse old Tackleton at the last moment, and to re- 
main true to Edward till the end of her life. The sailor, 
hearing her resolve, rushes in tearing off his false gray 
beard, and catches May, who at last recognizes him, in 
his arms. Meanwhile Tackleton arrives gorgeously at- 
tired. He brings a necklace of false pearls and in- 
vites May to drive with him to the wedding ceremony 
in the church at once. A whole chorus of people in- 
terrupt this scene ; they greet him, saying they are his 
wedding guests, exciting the miser's wrath. At last 
May, who had retired to put on her bridal attire, re- 
appears, but instead of taking Tackieton's arm she 
walks up to Edward, who courteously thanks the old 
lover for the carriage standing at the door, and sud- 
denly disappears with May. The chorus detains the 
furious old Tackleton until the lovers are well out of 
the way. 

Meanwhile Dot has explained her behavior to John, 
and whispering her sweet secret into his ear, makes 
him the happiest man on earth. The cricket, the good 
fairy of the house, chirps sweetly, and the last scene 
shows once more a picture of faithfulness and love. 



214 THE OPERA 



LES HUGUENOTS 

Opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. 
Text by Scribe. 

np HE scene is laid in France at the time of the bloody 
'^ persecutions of the Protestants or Huguenots 
by the Catholics. The Duke of Guise has apparently 
made peace with Admiral Coligny, the greatest and 
most famous of the Huguenots, and we are introduced 
into the castle of Count Nevers, where the Catholic 
noblemen receive Raoul de Nangis, a Protestant, who 
has lately been promoted to the rank of captain. Dur- 
ing their meal they speak of love and its pleasures and 
everybody is called on to give the name of his sweet- 
heart. Raoul begins by telling them that once when 
taking a walk he surprised a band of students molesting 
a lady in a litter. He rescued her, and as she gracious- 
ly thanked him for his gallant service he thought her 
more beautiful than any maiden he had ever before 
seen. His heart burned with love for her, though he 
did not know her name. While Raoul drinks with the 
noblemen, Marcel, his old servant, warns him of the 
danger of doing so. 

Marcel, who is a strict old Protestant, sings a ballad 
of the Huguenots to the young people, a song wild and 
fanatic. They laugh at his impotent wrath, when a 
lady is announced to Count Nevers. In her Raoul 
recognizes the lady of his dreams. 

Of course he believes her false and bad, while as a 
matter of fact she only comes to beseech Nevers, her 
destined bridegroom, to set her free. Nevers does so, 
though not without pain. When he returns to his 
companions he conceals the result of the interview and 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 215 

presently Urbain, a page, enters with a little note for 
Raoul de Nangis in which he is ordered to attend a 
lady, unknown to him. The others recognize the seal 
of Queen Marguerite of Valois, and finding him so 
worthy at once seek to gain his friendship. 

In the second act we find Raoul with the beautiful 
Queen, who is trying to reconcile the Catholics with the 
Protestants. To this end the Queen has resolved to 
unite Raoul with Valentine, her lady of honor and 
daughter of the Count of St. Bris, a staunch Catholic. 
Valentine tells her heart's secret to her mistress, for 
to her it was that Raoul brought assistance, and she 
loves him. The noble Raoul, seeing Marguerite's 
beauty and kindness, vows himself her knight, when 
suddenly the whole court enters to render her hom- 
age. Recognizing her at last to be the Queen, Raoul 
is all the more willing to fulfill her wishes and offers 
his hand in reconciliation to the proud St. Bris, prom- 
ising to wed his daughter. But when he perceives in 
her the unknown lady whom he believes to be so un- 
worthy he takes back his word. All are surprised, 
and the oflFended father vows bloody vengeance. 

In the third act Marcel brings a challenge to St. 
Bris, which the latter accepts, but Maurevert, a fa- 
natical Catholic nobleman, tells him of other ways in 
which to annihilate his foe. Valentine, though deadly 
offended with her lover, resolves to save him. Seeing 
Marcel, she bids him tell his master not to meet his 
enemy alone. Meanwhile Raoul is already on the spot, 
and so is St. Bris with four witnesses. While they fight, 
a quarrel arises between the Catholic and the Prot- 
estant citizens, which is stopped by Queen Marguerite. 
The enemies accuse each other, and when the Queen is 



2i6 THE OPERA 

in doubt as to whom she shall believe, Valentine ap- 
pears to bear witness. Then Raoul hears that her in- 
terview with Nevers had been but a farewell, sought 
for but to loosen forever the ties which her father had 
formed for her against her will; but the knowledge 
of his error comes too late, for St. Bris has once more 
promised his daughter to Nevers, who at this moment 
arrives with many guests, invited for the wedding 
The i^resence of the Queen preserves peace between the 
different parties, but Raoul leaves the spot with death 
in his heart. 

In the fourth act the dreadful night of St. Bartholo- 
mew is already beginning. 

We find Valentine in her room despairing. Raoul 
comes to take a last farewell, but ahnost immediately 
St. Bris enters with a party of Catholics and Raoul is 
obliged to hide in the adjoining room. There he licars 
the whole conspiracy for the destruction of the Prot- 
estants, beginning with their leader, Admiral Coligny. 
The Catholics all assent to this diabolical plot ; Nevers 
alone refuses to soil his honor and swears only to fight 
in open battle. The others, fearing treason, decide to 
bind him and keep him prisoner until the next morn- 
ing. Raoul prepares to save his brethren or die with 
them. \^ain are Valentine's entreaties ; though she con- 
fesses to her love for him, he yet leaves her, though 
Vv'ith a great effort, to follow the path of duty. 

In the last act Raoul rushes pale and bloody into 
the hall where Queen Marguerite sits with her husband 
Henry, surrounded by the court. He tells them of the 
terrific events which are going on outside and bcsecclies 
their help. It is too late; Coligny has already fallen 
and with him most of the Huguenots. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 217 

Raoul meets Valentine once more; she promises to 
save him if he will go over to her faith. But Marcel 
reminds him of his oath, and Valentine, seeing that 
nothing can move her lover's fortitude and firmness, 
decides to remain with him. She accepts his creed 
and so they meet death together, Valentine falling by 
the side of her deadly wounded lover, both praising 
God with their last breath. 



IPHIGl^NIE EN AULIDE 
(Iphigenia in Aulis) 

Grand Opera in three acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck. 
Text of the original rearranged by Wagner. 

T^HIS opera may be called the first part of the trag- 
"*• edy, and '*Iphigenie en Tauride*' very beautifully 
completes it. The music is sure to be highly relished 
by a cultivated hearer, characterized as it is by a sim- 
plicity which often rises into grandeur and nobility of 
utterance. 

The first scene represents Agamemnon rent by a 
conflict between his duty and his fatherly love; the 
former of which demands the sacrifice of his daughter, 
for only then will a favorable wind conduct the Greeks 
safely to Ilion. Kalchas, the high priest of Artemis, 
appears to announce her dreadful sentence. Alone 
with the King, Kalchas vainly tries to induce the un- 
happy father to consent to the sacrifice. 

Meanwhile Iphigenia, who has not received Aga- 
memnon's message which ought to have prevented her 
undertaking the fatal journey, arrives with her mother 
Klytemnestra. They are received with joy by the peo- 
ple. Agamemnon secretly informs his spouse that 



2i8 THE OPERA 

Achilles, Iphigenia's betrothed, has proved unworthy 
of her and that she is to return to Argos at once. 
Iphigenia gives way to her feelings. Achilles appears, 
the lovers are soon reconciled and prepare to celebrate 
their nuptials. 

In the second act Iphigenia is adorned for her wed- 
ding and Achilles comes to lead her to the altar, when 
Arkas, Agamemnon's messenger, informs them that 
death awaits Iphigenia. 

Klytemnestra in despair appeals to Achilles and the 
bridegroom swears to protect Iphigenia. She alone is 
resigned in the belief that it is her father's will that she 
should face this dreadful duty. Achilles reproaches 
Agamemnon wildly and leaves the unhappy father a 
prey to mental torture. At last he decides to send 
Arkas at once to Mykene with mother and daughter 
and to hide them there until the wrath of the goddess 
be appeased. But it is too late. 

In the third act the people assemble before the royal 
tent and with much shouting and noise demand the 
sacrifice. Achilles in vain implores Iphigenia to follow 
him. She is ready to be sacrificed, while he determines 
to kill any one who dares touch his bride. Klytem- 
nestrr then tries everything in her power to save her. 
She offers herself in her daughter's stead, and finding 
it of no avail, at last sinks down in a swoon. The 
daughter, having bade her an eternal farewell, with 
quiet dignity allows herself to be led to the altar. When 
her mother awakes she rages in impotent fury; then 
she hears the people's hymn to the goddess, and rushes 
out to die with her child. The scene changes. The 
high priest at the altar of Artemis is ready to pierce 
the innocent victim. A great tumult arises. Achilles, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 219 

with his native Thessalians, makes his way through the 
crowd in order to save Iphigenia, who loudly invokes 
the help of the goddess. But at this moment a loud 
thunder peal arrests the contending parties, and when 
the mist, which has blinded all, has passed, Artemis 
herself is seen in a cloud with Iphigenia kneeling be- 
fore her. 

The goddess announces that it is Iphigenia's high 
mind which she demands and not her blood ; she wishes 
to take her into a foreign land, where she may be her 
priestess and atone for the sins of the blood of Atreus. 

A wind favorable to the fleet has risen, and the peo- 
ple, filled with gratitude and admiration, behold the 
vanishing cloud and praise the goddess. 

IPHIGENIE EN TAURIDE 
(Iphigenia in Tauris) 

Opera in four acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck. 

Text by Guillard. 

HP HE libretto follows pretty exactly the Greek origi- 
'^ nal. Iphigenia, King Agamemnon's daughter, 
who has been saved by the goddess Diana (or Artemis) 
from death at the altar of Aulis, has been carried in 
a cloud to Tauris, where she is compelled to be high 
priestess in the temple of the barbarous Scythians. 
There we find her after having performed her cruel 
service for fifteen years. Human sacrifices are re- 
quired, but more than once she has saved a poor 
stranger from this awful lot. 

Iphigenia is much troubled by a dream, in which she 
saw her father deadly wounded by her mother, and 
herself about to kill her brother Orestes. She bewails 



220 THE OPERA 

her fate in having at the behest of Thoas, King of the 
Scythians, to sacrifice two strangers who have been 
thrown on his shores. Orestes and his friend Pylades, 
for these are the strangers, are led to death loaded 
with chains. 

Iphigenia, hearing that they are her countrymen, re- 
solves to save at least one of them in order to send 
him home to her sister Elektra. She does not know 
her brother Orestes, who, having slain his mother, has 
fled, pursued by the Furies, but an inner voice makes 
her choose him as a messenger to Greece. A lively 
dispute arises between the two friends ; at last Orestes 
prevails upon Iphigenia to spare his friend by threaten- 
ing to destroy himself with his own hands, his Hfe 
being a burden to him. Iphigenia reluctantly complies 
with his request, giving the message for her sister to 
Pylades. 

In the third act Iphigenia vainly tries to steel her 
heart against her victim. At last she seizes the knife, 
but Orestes cries, "So you also were pierced by the 
sacrificial steel, O my sister Iphigenia!" and the knife 
falls from her hands. A touching scene of recognition 
ensues. 

Meanwhile Thoas, who has heard that one of the 
strangers was about to depart, enters the temple with 
his bodyguard, and, though Iphigenia tells him that 
Orestes is her brother and entreats him to spare Aga- 
memnon's son, Thoas determines to sacrifice him and 
his sister Iphigenia as well. But his evil designs are 
frustrated by Pylades, who, returning with several of 
his countrymen, stabs the King of Tauris. The god- 
dess Diana herself appears and, helping the Greeks in 
their fight, gains for them the victory. Diana declares 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 221 

herself appeased by the repentance of Orestes and al- 
lows him to return to his country with his sister, his 
friend, and all his followers. 

LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE-DAME 
(The Juggler of Notre-Dame) 

Opera in three acts by Jules Massenet. 
Text by Lena. 

TN Cluny, on a market-day (the first of May), the 
juggler Jean wanders hungry and miserable through 
the countryside, but rejoices in his freedom. It does 
not satisfy his wants, however, and he is unsuccess- 
ful in gaining the attention of the people, who deride 
his performance. They care nothing for his globes, 
his hoops, his old songs and dances. They do applaud 
a ribald song, "Alleluia to wine," and although in his 
heart Jean is a good Christian, his stomach remains 
egotistical, and he sings a parody on the mass. The 
prior appears, and the crowd disperses, leaving Jean 
to his fate. The juggler is about to be excommuni- 
cated for his blasphemy, when he confesses his guilt, 
and is received among the monks. Hunger overcomes 
him, and he relinquishes his freedom, sorely tempted 
by the rich food of the abbey. 

In the second act, in the study at the abbey, musi- 
cians, poets, painters, and sculptors labor for the feast 
of the Holy Mother, but Jean takes no part — ^he knows 
no Latin. Brother Boniface, the cook, consoles him, 
and Jean resolves to serve the Holy Mother in his own 
way. 

The last act takes place in the chapel of the abbey, 
in which stands the image of the Blessed Virgin. Jean 



222 THE OPERA 

slowly approaches. He puts off his monastic garb, 
and appears in his juggler's dress. He offers to Mary 
the only gift he possesses, his songs and dances. In 
his ecstasy, he fails to notice the entrance of the monks, 
and dances on unheeding. The prior in horror is about 
to throw himself upon Jean, when the Holy Mother 
interferes; a miracle takes place, for the image raises 
its hands, and places them in benediction upon the head 
of the juggler. The monks now acclaim him a saint, 
and as they sing, led by Boniface, "Sancta Maria, ora 
pro nobis/* Jean declares in softly childish tones, "Oh, 
dear, I understand Latin now!" Overcome with joy 
at the favor of the Holy Mother, the juggler sinks to 
the ground and dies. 

JOSEPH 

Opera in three acts by ^tienne Nicolas Mehul. 

Text after Duval. 

JOSEPH, the son of Jacob, who was sold by his 
brothers, has by his wisdom saved Egypt from 
threatening famine; he resides as governor in Mem- 
phis under the name of Cleophas. But though much 
honored by the King and all the people, he never ceases 
to long for his old father, whose favorite child he was. 
Driven from Palestine by famine, Jacob's sons are 
sent to Egypt to ask for food and hospitality. They 
are tormented by pangs of conscience, which Simeon 
is hardly able to conceal, when they are received by 
the governor, who at once recognizes them. Seeing 
their sorrow and repentance, he pities them, and prom- 
ises to treat them with all hospitality. He does not re- 
veal himself, but goes to meet his youngest brother, 
Benjamin, and his blind father, whose mourning for 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 223 

his lost son has not been diminished by the long years. 
Joseph induces his father and brother to partake of 
the honors which the people render to him. The 
whole family is received in the governor's palace, 
where Simeon, consumed by grief and conscience- 
stricken, at last confesses to his father the selling of 
Joseph. Full of horror, Jacob curses and disowns his 
ten sons. But Joseph intervenes. Making himself 
known, he grants full pardon and entreats his father to 
do the same. The old man yields^ and together they 
praise God's providence and omnipotence. 

LA JUIVE 
(The Jewess) 

Opera in five acts by Jacques Hal6vy. 
Text by Scribe. 

npHE scene of action is laid in Constance, in the 
^ year 1414, during the Council. 
In the first act the opening of the Council is cele- 
brated with great pomp. The Catholics having gained 
a victory over the Hussites, Huss is to be burned, 
and the Jews, equally disliked, are oppressed and put 
down still more than before. All the shops are closed, 
only Eleazar, a rich Jewish jeweler, has kept his open 
and is, therefore, about to be imprisoned and put to 
death when Cardinal de Brogni intervenes and saves 
the Jew and his daughter Recha from the people's fury. 
The Cardinal has a secret liking for Eleazar, though 
he once banished him from Rome. He hopes to gain 
news from him of his daughter, who was lost in early 
childhood. But Eleazar hates the Cardinal bitterly. 
When the mob is dispersed Prince Leopold, the imperi- 



224 THE OPERA 

al commander-in-chief, approaches Recha. Under the 
assumed name of Samuel he has gained her affections, 
and she begs him to be present at a religious feast 
which is to take place that evening at her father's 
house. The act closes with a splendid procession of 
the Emperor and all his dignitaries. Ruggiero, the 
chief judge in Constance, seeing the hated Jew and 
his daughter among the spectators, is about to seize 
them once more, when Prince Leopold steps between 
and delivers them, to Recha's great astonishment. 

In the second act we are introduced to a great asr 
sembly of Jews, men and women, assisting at a relig- 
ious ceremony. Samuel is there with them. The holy 
act is, however, interrupted by the Emperor's niece 
Princess Eudora, who comes to purchase a golden 
chain which once belonged to the Emperor Constan- 
tine, which she destines for her bridegroom Prince 
Leopold. Eleazar is to bring it himself on the follow- 
ing day. Samuel, overhearing this, is full of trouble. 
When the assembly is broken up and all have gone he 
returns once more to Recha and, finding her alone, 
confesses that he is a Christian. Love prevails over 
Recha*s filial devotion and she consents to fly with her 
lover, but they are surprised by Eleazar. Hearing of 
Samuel's falseness, be first swears vengeance, but, 
mollified by his daughter's entreaties, he only bids him 
marry Recha. Samuel refuses and has to leave, the 
father cursing him, Recha bewailing her lover's false- 
ness. 

In the third act we assist at the imperial banquet. 
Eleazar brings the chain and is accompanied by Recha, 
who at once recognizes in Eudora's bridegroom her 
lover Samuel. She denounces the traitor, accusing 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 225 

him of living in unlawful wedlock with a Jewess, a 
crime punishable by death. 

Leopold (alias Samuel) is outlawed, the Cardinal 
pronounces the anathema upon all three, and they are 
put in prison. 

In the fourth act Eudora visits Recha in prison and 
by her prayers not only overcomes Recha's hate but 
persuades her to save Leopold by declaring him inno- 
cent. Recha, in her noble-mindedness, pardons Leo- 
pold and Eudora and resolves to die alone. 

Meanwhile the Cardinal has an interview with Elea- 
zar, who tells him that he knows the Jew who once 
saved the Cardinal's little daughter from the flames. 
Brogni vainly entreats him to reveal the name. He 
promises to save Recha should Eleazar be willing to ab- 
jure his faith, but the latter remains firm, fully pre- 
pared to die. 

In the fifth act we hear the clamors of the people, 
who furiously demand the Jew's death. 

Ruggiero announces to father and daughter the ver- 
dict of death by fire. Leopold is set free through 
Recha's testimony. When in view of the funeral pile 
Eleazar asks Recha if she would prefer to live in joy 
and splendor and to accept the Christian faith, but she 
firmly answers in the negative. Then she is led on 
to death, and she is just plunged into the glowing 
furnace when Eleazar, pointing to her, informs the 
Cardinal that the poor victim is his long-lost daughter ; 
then Eleazar follows Recha into the flames^ while 
Brogni falls back senseless. 



226 THE OPERA 

DIE KONIGIN VON SABA 
(The Queen of Sheba) 

Grand Opera in four acts by Karl Goldmarlc. 
Text by Mosenthal. 

A MAGNIFICENT wedding is to be celebrated 
'^*' in King Solomon's palace at Jerusalem. The 
high priest's daughter, Sulamith, is to marry Assad, 
King Solomon's favorite. But the lover, who in a for- 
eign country has seen a most beautiful and haughty 
woman bathing in a forest pool, is now in love with the 
stranger and has forgotten his destined bride. 

Returning home, Assad confesses his error to the 
wise King, and Solomon bids him wed Sulamith and 
forget the heathen. Assad gives his promise, praying 
to God to restore peace to his breast. 

Then enters the Queen of Sheba in all her glory, fol- 
lowed by a procession of slaves and suitors. Next to 
her litter walks her principal slave, Astaroth. 

The Queen comes to offer her homage to the great 
Solomon with all the gifts of her rich kingdom. She 
is veiled, and nobody has seen her yet, as only before 
the King will she unveil herself. 

When she draws back the veil, shining in all her per- 
fect beauty, Assad starts forward ; he recognizes her ; 
she is his nymph of the forest. But the proud Queen 
seems to know him not, she ignores him altogether. 
Solomon and Sulamith try to reassure themselves, to 
console Assad, and the Queen hears Solomon's words : 
"To-morrow shall find you united to your bride !" She 
starts and casts a passionate look on the unfortunate 
Assad. 

The Queen is full of raging jealousy of the young 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 227 

bride. But though she claims Assad's love for herself, 
she is yet too proud to resign her crown, and so, hesi- 
tating between love and pride, she swears vengeance 
on her rival. Under the shade of night Astaroth al- 
lures Assad to the fountain, where he finds the Queen, 
who employs all her arts again to captivate him, suc- 
ceeding only too well. 

Morning dawns, and with it the day of Assad's mar- 
riage with Sulamith. Solomon and the high priest 
conduct the youth to the altar, but just as he is taking 
the ring, offered to him by the bride's father, the Queen 
of Sheba appears, bringing as wedding gift a golden 
cup filled with pearls. 

Assad, again overcome by the Queen's dazzling 
beauty, throws the ring away and precipitates himself 
at her feet. The Levites detain him, but Solomon, 
guessing at the truth, implores the Queen to speak. 
Assad invokes all the sweet memories of their past, the 
Queen hesitates, but her pride conquers. For the sec- 
ond time she disowns him. Now everybody believes 
Assad possessed by an evil spirit, and the priests at 
once begin to exorcise it ; it is all but done, when one 
word of the Queen's, who sweetly calls him "Assad,"' 
spoils everything. He is in her bands : falling on his 
knees before her he prays to her as to his goddess. 
Wrathful at this blasphemy in the temple, the priests 
demand his death. 

Assad asks no better, Sulamith despairs, and the 
Queen repents having gone so far. In the great tu- 
mult Solomon alone is unmoved. He detains the 
priests with dignity, for he alone will judge Assad. 

Now follows a charming ballet, given in honor of 
the Queen of Sheba. At the end of the meal the Queen 



228 THE OPERA 

demands Assad's pardon from Solomon. He refuses 
her request. She now tries to ensnare the King with 
her charms as she did Assad, but in vain. Solomon 
sees her in her true light and treats her with cold polite- 
ness. Almost beside herself with rage, the Queen 
threatens to take vengeance on the King and to free 
Assad at any risk. 

Solomon, well understanding the vile tricks of the 
Queen, has changed the verdict of death into that of 
exile. Sulamith, faithful and gentle, entreats for her 
lover, and has only one wish: to sweeten life to her 
Assad, or to die with him. 

We find Assad in the desert. He is broken down 
and deeply repents his folly, when the Queen appears 
once more, hoping to lure him with soft words and 
tears. But this time her beauty is lost upon him: he 
has at last recognized her false soul ; with noble pride 
he scorns her, preferring to expiate his follies by dying 
in the desert. He curses her, praying to God to save 
him from the temptress. Henceforth he thinks only 
of Sulamith and invokes Heaven's benediction on her. 
He is dying in the dreadful heat of the desert, when 
Sulamith appears, the faithful one who without rest- 
ing has sought her bridegroom till now. But in vain 
she kneels beside him couching his head on her bosom ; 
his life is fast ebbing away. Heaven has granted his 
last wish ; he sees Sulamith before his death, and with 
the sigh, "Liberation !" he sinks back and expires. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 229 

LOHENGRIN 

Romantic Opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. 

'T'HE scene is laid near Antwerp where "Heinrich 
-*• der Vogler/' King of Germany, is just levying 
troops among his vassals of Brabant to repulse the 
Hungarian invaders. The King finds the people in a 
state of great commotion, for Count Frederick Telra- 
mund accuses Elsa of Brabant of having killed her 
young brother Godfrey, heir to the Duke of Brabant, 
who died a short time before, leaving his children to 
the care of Telramund. Elsa was to be Telramund's 
wife, but he wedded Ortrud of Friesland and now 
claims the deserted duchy of Brabant. 

As Elsa declares her innocence, not knowing what 
has become of her brother, who was taken from her 
during her sleep, the King resolves to decide by a tour- 
ney in which the whole matter shall be left to the judg- 
ment of God. Telramund, sure of his rights, is willing 
to fight with any champion who may defend Elsa. All 
the noblemen of Brabant refuse to do so and even the 
King, though struck by Elsa's innocent appearance, 
does not want to oppose his valiant and trustworthy 
warrior. 

Elsa alone is calm ; she trusts in the help of the heav- 
enly knight who has appeared to her in a dream, and 
publicly declares her intention of offering to her de- 
fender the crown and her hand. While she prays a 
knight arrives in silver armor ; a swan draws his boat. 
He lands, Elsa recognizes the knight of her dream, and 
he at once offers to fight for the accused maiden on two 
conditions: first, that she shall become his wife; and 



230 THE OPERA 

second, that she never will ask for his name and his 
descent. 

Elsa solemnly promises and the combat begins. The 
strange knight is victorious, and Telramund, whose 
life the stranger spares, is with his wife Ortrud out- 
lawed. 

The latter is a sorceress; she has deceived her hus- 
band, who really beHeves in the murder of Godfrey, 
while as a matter of fact she has abducted the child. 
In the second act we see her at the door of the ducal 
palace, where preparations for the wedding are already 
being made. She plans vengeance. Her husband, full 
of remorse and feeling that his wife has led him on to 
a shameful deed, curses her as the cause of his dis- 
honor. She derides him and rouses his pride by calling 
him a coward. Then she pacifies him with the assur- 
ance that she will induce Elsa to break her promise and 
ask for the name of her husband, being sure that then 
all the power of this mysterious champion will vanish. 

When Elsa steps on the balcony to confide her happi- 
ness to the stars, she hears her name spoken in accents 
so sad that her tender heart is moved. Ortrud bewails 
her lot, invoking Elsa's pity. The Princess opens her 
door, urging the false woman to share her palace and 
her fortune. Ortrud at once tries to sow distrust in 
Elsa*s innocent heart. 

As the morning dawns a rich procession of men and 
women throng to the church where Elsa is to be united 
to her protector. Telramund tries vainly to accuse the 
stranger; he is pushed back and silenced. As Elsa is 
about to enter the church Ortrud steps forward claim- 
ing the right of precedence. Elsa, frightened, repents 
too late having protected her. Ortrud upbraids her 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 231 

with not even having asked her husband's name and de- 
scent. All are taken aback, but Elsa defends her hus- 
band, winning everybody by her quiet dignity. 

She turns to Lohengrin for protection, but the venom 
rankles in her heart. 

When they again turn to enter the church Telra- 
mund once more steps forth, accusing Lohengrin and 
demanding from the King to know the stranger's name. 
Lohengrin declares that his name may not be told un- 
less his wife asks it. Elsa is in great trouble, but once 
more her love conquers and she does not put the fatal 
question. 

But in the third act, when the two lovers are alone, 
she knows no rest. Although her husband asks her to 
trust him, she fears that he may leave her as myste- 
riously as he came, and at last she cannot refrain from 
asking the luckless question. From this moment all 
happiness is lost to her. Telramund enters to slay his 
enemy, but Lohengrin, taking his sword, kills him with 
one stroke. Then he leads Elsa before the King and 
loudly announces his secret. He tells the astounded 
hearers that he is the keeper of the Holy Grail. Sacred 
and invulnerable to the villain, a defender of right and 
virtue, he may stay with mankind as long as his name 
is unknown. But now he is obliged to reveal it. He 
is Lohengrin, son of Parsifal, King of the Grail, and 
is now compelled to leave his wife and return to his 
home. The swan appears, from whose neck Lohengrin 
takes a golden ring, giving it to Elsa. together with 
his sword and golden horn. 

Just as Lohengrin is about to depart Ortrud appears 
triumphantly declaring that it was she who changed 
young Godfrey into a swan and that Lohengrin would 



232 THE OPERA 

have freed him too had Elsa not mistrusted her hus- 
band. Lohengrin, hearing this, sends a fervent prayer 
to Heaven, and loosens the swan's golden chain. The 
animal dips under water and in his stead rises Godfrey, 
the lawful heir of Brabant. A white dove descends 
to draw the boat in which Lohengrin glides away, and 
Elsa falls senseless in her brother's arms. 

LOUISE 

Opera in four acts by Gustave Charpentier. 

A^HARPENTIER has taken for his subject the 
^^ romance of the everyday working-girl, just such 
a tale as one may find in the popular story-papers, or 
in the so-called melodrama of the cheaper theaters. 
But to this commonplace text he has wedded a truly 
Wagnerian musical setting, elaborate in orchestration, 
full of the "recitative which is aria, and the aria which 
is recitative," and with an ever-recurring Leitmotiv 
typical of the joy of Paris. First performed February 
2, 1900, at the Opera Comique in Paris, "Louise" 
rapidly passed into the repertoire of the world's prin- 
cipal lyric theaters. 

The first act opens in a working-man's home in 
Paris. The attic is scantily furnished, but clean, and 
Louise, at the open window, is listening to the ardent 
pleadings of Julien, her lover. The girl's mother en- 
ters in time to hear Julien tell Louise that, since her 
parents will not permit them to wed, they must elope. 
The mother pulls her daughter from the window, dis- 
misses the lover, then lectures the girl on the bad char- 
acter of her suitor. The father enters, and greets his 
family affectionately. He has received a letter from 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 233 

Julien, who begs to be accepted as a son-in-law. But 
while the father is rather favorably impressed by the 
young man's letter, his wife is not, and with the an- 
tipathy of her class for artists, she repeats all the gos- 
sip she has heard to Julien's discredit. The father 
then exacts a promise from Louise that she will see 
Julien no more. 

An allegory portraying Paris introduces the second 
act. A night-walker, a ragpicker, and the rabble of a 
great city in the early dawn are shown. Julien enters 
with a party of friends, to whom he describes his plans 
for the abduction of Louise. He hides as the working- 
girls come by on their way to the shops. Louise enters 
with her mother, and the moment they part, Julien 
approaches the girl, and again begs her to elope with 
him. She refuses and he turns sadly away. The scene 
now shifts to the interior of a dressmaking shop, where 
Louise is at work with her companions. The girls chat- 
ter as they work, and the noises of the street are heard 
through open windows in the back. Presently Julien 
is heard singing to the accompaniment of his guitar. 
The girls flock to the windows. JuHen, not seeing 
Louise, sings in sadder vein, and the girls lose interest 
— ^all but Louise. Unable longer to resist her lover'? 
pleadings, she pretends to be ill, and dons her coat and 
hat as though going home. A moment later the girls 
at the window cry out in excitement. Louise has gone 
off with the singer. 

The third act takes place in the garden of a house 
on Montmartre overlooking Paris. Louise tells Julien 
that she regrets nothing, that she is happy. Julien 
speaks of her parents as Mother Routine and Father 
Prejudice, and tells her that the selfishness of her par- 



234 THE OPERA 

ents must be met with selfishness. The city lights up, 
and the lovers sing the praise of Paris, of life, of love. 
When night has fallen, a crowd of Julien's Bohemian 
associates come to celebrate the happy union. They 
crown Louise **Queen of Montmartre," but the festivi- 
ties are interrupted by the arrival of Louise's mother. 
The father has fallefi ill, and she begs Louise to go 
home with her. Julien consents, on the promise of 
Louise that she will return. 

In the last act we return to the humble home in 
Paris, where the father, broken in health, is declaim- 
ing against the ingratitude of children. Louise makes 
no reply, but looks longingly out into the night. Called 
to help her mother in the kitchen, Louise is treated to 
another tirade against her lover. The girl recalls the 
promise that she should be free. The mother refuses 
to let her go. The father draws her to his knee, and 
sings her a lullaby, promising that the child shall have 
whatever she wants if she will be good. Louise an- 
swers that she can be happy only by returning to her 
lover. Then the songs in the streets excite her to the 
verge of hysteria. Finally, in a fit of rage, the father 
drives her from home. He immediately repents and 
calls her back, but it is too late. She has gone to re- 
join Julien. "Oh, Paris !" cries the father, shaking his 
fist in impotent anger at the city. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 235 

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR 
(The Bride of Lammermoor) 

Tragic Opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. 
Text from Scott's romance by Cammerano. 

TJ ENRY ASHTON, lord of Lammermoor, has dis- 
-*• ^ covered that his sister Lucia loves his mortal 
enemy Sir Edgar of Ravenswood. He confides to 
Lucia's tutor Raymond that he is lost if Lucia does not 
marry another suitor of his (her brother's) choice. 

Lucia and Edgar meet in the park. Edgar tells her 
that he is about to leave Scotland for France in the 
service of his country. He wishes to be reconciled to 
his enemy Lord Ashton, for, though the latter has done 
him all kinds of evil, though he has slain his father 
and burned his castle, Edgar is willing to sacrifice his 
oath of vengeance to his love for Lucia. But the lady, 
full of evil forebodings, entreats him to wait and 
swears eternal fidelity to him. After having bound 
himself by a solemn oath, he leaves her half-distracted 
with grief. 

In the second act Lord Ashton shows a forged letter 
to his sister, which goes to prove that her lover is false. 
Her brother now presses her more and more to wed his 
friend Arthur, Lord Bucklaw, declaring that he and 
his party are lost and that Arthur alone can save him 
from the executioner's axe. At last, when even her 
tutor Raymond beseeches her to forget Edgar, and, 
like the others, believes him to be faithless, Lucia con- 
sents to the sacrifice. The wedding takes place in 
great haste, but just as Lucia has finished signing the 
marriage contract, Edgar enters to claim her as his 
own. 



236 THE OPERA 

With grief and unbounded passion he now sees in 
his bride a traitress, and tearing his ring of betrothal 
from her finger, he throws it at her feet. 

Henry, Arthur, and Raymond order the raving lover 
to leave the castle, and the act closes in the midst of 
confusion and despair. 

The third act opens with Raymond*s announcement 
that Lucia has lost her reason and has killed her 
husband in the bridal room. Lucia herself enters to 
confirm his awful news ; she is still in bridal attire, and 
in her demented condition believes that Arthur will 
presently appear for the nuptial ceremony. Every- 
body is full of pity for her, and her brother repents 
his harshness too late — Lucia is fast dying, and Eliza 
leads her away amid the lamentations of all present. 

Edgar, hearing of these things while wandering 
amid the tombs of his ancestors, resolves to see Lucia 
once more. When dying she asks for him, but he comes 
too late. The funeral bells toll, and he stabs himself, 
praying to be united to his bride in heaven. 

LUCREZIA BORGIA 

Tragic Opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. 
Text by Roman i after Victor Hugo's drama. 

'T'HE heroine, whose part is by far the best and 
•■• most interesting, is the celebrated poisoner and 
murderess, Lucrezia Borgia. At the same time she 
gives evidence, in her dealings with her son Gennaro, 
of possessing a very tender and motherly heart, and 
the songs in which she pours out her love for him are 
really fine as well as touching. 
Lucrezia, wife of Don Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 237 

goes to Venice in disguise to see the son of her first 
marriage, Gennaro. In his earhest youth he was given 
to a fisherman, who brought him up as his own son. 
Gennaro feels himself attracted toward the strange and 
beautiful woman who visits him, but hearing from his 
companions, who recognize her and charge her with 
all sorts of crimes, that she is Lucrezia Borgia, he ab- 
hors her. Don Alfonso, not knowing the existence of 
this son of an early marriage, is jealous, and when 
Gennaro comes to Ferrara and in order to prove his 
hatred of the Borgias tears off Lucrezia's name and 
scutcheon from the palace-gates, Rustighello, the 
Duke's confidant, is ordered to imprison him. Lu- 
crezia, hearing from her servant Gubella of the out- 
rage to her name and honor, complains to the Duke, 
who promises immediate punishment of the malefac- 
tor. 

Gennaro enters, and Lucrezia, terror-stricken, recog- 
nizes her son. Vainly does she implore the Duke to 
spare the youth. With exquisite cruelty he forces her 
to hand the poisoned golden cup to the culprit herself, 
and, departing, bids her accompany her prisoner to 
the door. This order gives her an opportunity to ad- 
minister an antidote by which she saves Gennaro's 
life, and she implores him to fly. But Gennaro does 
not immediately follow her advice, being induced by 
his friend Orsini to assist at a grand festival at Prince 
Negroni*s. 

Unhappily all those young men who formerly re- 
proached and offended Lucrezia so mortally in pres- 
ence of her son are assembled there by Lucrezia's or- 
ders. She has mixed their wine with poison, and her- 
self appears to announce their death. Horror-stricken, 



238 THE OPERA 

she sees Gennaro, who was not invited, among them. 
He has partaken of the wine like the others, but on her 
offering him an antidote he refuses to take it; its 
quantity is insufficient for his friends, and he threatens 
to kill the murderess. Then she reveals the secret of 
his birth to him, but he only turns from this mother, 
for whom he had vainly longed his whole life, and dies. 
The Duke, coming up to witness his wife's horrible 
victory, finds all either dead or dying, and Lucrezia 
herself expires, stricken down by deadly remorse and 
pain. 

DIE LUSTIGEN WEIBER VON WINDSOR 
(The Merry Wives of Windsor) 

G>inic Opera in three acts by Otto Nicolai. 
Text by Mosenthal. 

T^HIS admirable opera is, it need hardly be said, 
"*• taken from Shakespeare's famous comedy. Fal- 
staff has written love-letters to the wives of two citi- 
zens of Windsor, Mrs. Fluth and Mrs. Reich. They 
discover his duplicity and decide to punish the infatu- 
ated old fool. 

Meanwhile Mr. Fenton, a nice but poor young man, 
asks for the hand of Anna Reich. But her father has 
already chosen a richer suitor for his daughter in the 
person of the silly young squire Sparlich. 

In the following scene Sir John Falstaff is amiably 
received by Mrs. Fluth, when suddenly Mrs. Reich 
arrives, telling them that Mr. Fluth will be with them 
at once, having received notice of his wife's doings. 
Falstaff is packed into a clothes-basket and carried 
away from under Mr. Fluth's nose by two men, who 
are bidden to put the contents in a canal near the 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 239 

Thames, and the jealous husband, finding nobody, re- 
ceives sundry lectures from his offended wife. 

In the second act Mr. Fluth, mistrusting his wife, 
makes Falstaff's acquaintance, under the assumed name 
of Bach, and is obliged to hear an account of the 
worthy fat knight's gallant adventure with his wife 
and its disagreeable issue. Fluth persuades Falstaff to 
give him a rendezvous, swearing inwardly to punish the 
old coxcomb for his impudence. 

In the evening Anna meets her lover Fenton in the 
garden, and ridiculing her two suitors, Sparlich and 
Dr. Caius, a Frenchman, she promises to remain faith- 
ful to her love. The two others, who are hidden be- 
hind trees, must perforce listen to their own dispraise. 

When the time has come for Falstaff's next visit to 
Mrs. Fluth, who of course knows of her husband's re- 
newed suspicion, Mr. Fluth surprises his wife and re- 
proaches her violently with her conduct. During this 
controversy Falstaff is disguised as an old woman, and 
when the neighbors come to help the husband in his 
search, they find only an old deaf cousin of Mrs. 
Fluth's who has come from the country to visit her. 
Nevertheless the hag gets a good thrashing from the 
duped and angry husband. 

In the last act everybody is in the forest, preparing 
for the festival of Heme the hunter. All are masked, 
and Sir John Falstaff, being led on by the two merry 
wives, is surprised by Heme (Fluth), who sends the 
whole chorus of wasps, flies, and mosquitos on to his 
broad back. They torment and punish him, till he 
loudly cries for mercy. Fenton, in the mask of 
Oberon, has found his Anna in Queen Titania, while 
Dr. Caius and Sparlich, mistaking their masks for 



240 THE OPERA 

Anna's, sink into each other's arms, much to their 
mutual discomfiture. 

Mr. Fluth and Mr. Reich, seeing that their wives 
are innocent and that they only made fim of Falstaff, 
are quite happy, and the whole scene ends with a gen- 
eral pardon. 

THE MACCABEES 

Opera in three acts by Anton Rubinstein. 
Text by Mosenthal, taken from Otto Ludwig's drama. 

T^HE hero is the famous warrior of the Old Testa- 
•*- ment. The scene takes place one hundred and 
sixty years before Christ, partly at Modin, a city in 
the mountains of Judah, and partly in Jerusalem and 
its environs. 

The first act shows Leah with three of her sons, 
Eleazar, Joarim, and Benjamin. Eleazar is envious of 
Judah, the eldest son, whose courage and strength are 
on everybody's lips, but his mother consoles him by a 
prophecy that Eleazar shall one day be high priest and 
king of the Jews. 

The fete of the sheep-shearing is being celebrated, 
and Noemi, Judah's wife, approaches Leah with gar- 
lands of flowers asking for her benediction. But she 
is repulsed by her mother-in-law, who is too proud to 
recognize the low-born maid as her equal and slights 
her son Judah for his love. She tries to incite him into 
rebellion against the Syrians, when Jojakim, a priest, 
appears. He announces the death of Osias, high 
priest of Zion, and calls one of Leah's sons to the im- 
portant office. As Judah feels no vocation for such a 
burden, Eleazar, his mother's favorite, is chosen, and 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 241 

so Leah sees her dream already fulfilled. They are 
about to depart when the approaching army of the 
Syrians is announced. Terror seizes the people as 
Gorgias, the leader of the enemy, marches up with his 
soldiers and loudly proclaims that the Jews are to 
erect an altar to Pallas Athene, to whom they must 
pray henceforth. Leah seeks to inflame Eleazar's 
spirit, but his courage fails him. The altar is soon 
erected, and as Gorgias sternly orders that sacrifices 
are to be offered to the goddess, Boas, Noemi's father, 
is found willing to bow to the enemy's commands. But 
the measure is full, Judah steps forth, and striking 
Boas, the traitor to their faith, dead, loudly praises 
Jehovah. He calls his people to arms and repulses the 
Syrians, and Leah, recognizing her son's greatness, 
gives him her benediction. 

The second act represents a deep ravine near Em- 
maus; the enemy is beaten and Judah is resolved to 
drive him from Zion's walls, but Jojakim warns him 
not to profane the coming Sabbath. 

Judah tries to overrule the priests and to excite the 
people, but he is not heard and the enemy is able to 
kill the psalm-singing soldiers like lambs. 

The next scene shows us Eleazar with Cleopatra, 
daughter of King Antiochus of Syria. 

They love each other, and Eleazar consents to for- 
sake his religion for her, while she promises to make 
him king of Jerusalem. 

In the next scene Leah in the city of Modin is 
greeted with acclamations of joy, when Simei, a rela- 
tive of the slain Boas, appears to bewail Judah's 
defeat. Other fugitives coming up confirm his narra- 
tive of the massacre. Leah hears that Judah fled and 



242 THE OPERA 

that Antiochus approaches conducted by her son Elea- 
zar. She curses the apostate. She has still two 
younger sons, but the Israelites take them from her to 
give as hostages to King Antiochus. Leah is bound to 
a cypress-tree by her own people, who attribute their 
misfortunes to her and to her sons. Only Noemi, the 
despised daughter-in-law, remains to Hberate the mis- 
erable mother, and together they resolve to ask the 
tyrant's pardon for the sons. 

In the third act we find Judah, alone and unrecog- 
nized, in the deserted streets of Jerusalem. Hearing 
the prayers of the people that Judah may be sent to 
them, he steps forth and tells them who he is, and all 
sink at his feet swearing to fight with him to the death. 
While Judah prays to God for a sign of grace, Noemi 
comes with the dreadful news of the events at Modin, 
which still further rouses the anger and courage of 
the Israelites. Meanwhile Leah has succeeded in pene- 
trating into Antiochus's presence to beg the lives of her 
children from him. Eleazar, Gorgias, and Cleopatra 
join their prayers to those of the poor mother, and at 
last Antiochus consents, and the two boys are led into 
the room. 

But the King only grants their liberty on condition 
that they renounce their faith. They are to be burned 
alive should they abide by their heresy. The mother's 
heart is full of agony, but the children's noble courage 
prevails. They are prepared to die for their God, but 
the unhappy mother is not even allowed to share their 
death. When Eleazar sees his brothers* firmness his 
conscience awakens, and notwithstanding Cleopatra's 
entreaties he joins them on their way to death. The 
hymns of the youthful martyrs are heard, but with 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 243 

the sound of their voices suddenly mingles that of a 
growing tumult. Antiochus falls, shot through the 
heart, and the Israelites rush in, headed by Judah, put- 
ting the Syrians to flight. Leah sees her people's vic- 
tory, but the trial has been too great; she sinks back 
lifeless. Judah is proclaimed King of Zion, but he 
humbly bends his head, giving all glory to the Almighty 
God, 

MADAME BUTTERFLY 

Japanese Lyric Tragedy in three acts by Giacomo PuccinL 

Founded on the book of John Luther Long and the drama by 

David Belasco. Text by Illica and Giacosa. 

T^HE scene is laid in Nagasaki in our own time. 
-*- The first act takes place on a hill, from which 
there is a grand view of the ocean and of the town 
below. 

Goro, a marriage broker, shows his new Japanese 
house to an American naval lieutenant, Pinkerton, who 
has purchased it in Japanese fashion for 999 years, 
with the right of giving monthly notice. He is waiting 
for his bride Cho-Cho-San, called Butterfly, whom he 
is about to wed under the same queer conditions for 
one hundred yens (a yen about one dollar). 

Butterfly's maid Suzuki and his two servants are 
presented to him, but he is impatient to embrace his 
sweetheart, with whom he is very much in love. 

Sharpless, the United States consul, who tells him 
much good of the little bride, warns him not to bruise 
the wings of the delicate butterfly, but Pinkerton only 
laughs at his remonstrances. 

At last Butterfly appears with her companions. At 
her bidding, they all shut their umbrellas and kneel to 



244 THE OPERA 

their friend's future husband, of whom the girl is very 
proud. Questioned by the consul about her family, she 
tells him that they are of good origin, but that, hej; 
father having died, as a geisha (dancing-girl) she has 
to support herself and her mother. She is but fifteen 
and very sweet and tender-hearted. 

When in procession her relations come up, they all 
do obeisance to Pinkerton. They are ail jealous of 
Butterfly's good luck and prophesy an evil end, but the 
girl perfectly trusts and believes in her lover and even 
confides to him that she has left her own gods, to pray 
henceforth to the God of her husband. 

When Pinkerton begins to show her their house, she 
produces from her sleeve her few precious belongings. 
These are some silken scarfs, a little brooch, a looking- 
glass, and a fan; also a long knife, which she at once 
hides in a corner of the house. Goro tells Pinkerton 
that it is the weapon with which her father performed 
hara-kiri (killed himself). The last things she shows 
her lover are some little figures representing the souls 
of her ancestors. 

When the whole assembly is ready, they are married 
by the commissary. Pinkerton treats his relations to 
champagne, but soon the festival is interrupted by the 
dismal howls of Butterfly's uncle, the bonze (Buddhist 
monk), who climbs the hill and tells the relations that 
the wretched bride has denied her faith, and has been to 
the mission-house, to adopt her husband's religion. All 
turn from her with horror and curse her. But Pinker- 
ton consoles his weeping wife, and the act closes with a 
charming love-duet. 

The second act shows Butterfly alone. Pinkerton has 
left her, and she sits dreamily with her faithful maid 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 245 

Suzuki, who vainly implores her gods to bring back 
the faithless husband. The young wife, who has been 
waiting three long years for his return, still firmly be- 
lieves his promise to come back when the robin should 
build its nest. She refuses a proposal of marriage 
from Prince Yamadori, who has loved her for years, 
and now tries again to win the forsaken wife. She 
answers him with quiet dignity, that, though by Japa- 
nese law a wife is considered free as soon as her hus- 
band has left her, she considers herself bound by the 
laws of her husband's country, and Yamadori leaves 
her. 

Sharpless now enters with a letter he has received 
from Pinkerton. Not daring to let her know its con- 
tents at once, he warns her that her husband will never 
return, and advises her to accept Prince Yamadori's 
oflFer. Butterfly is at first startled and alarmed, but 
soon she recovers herself, and beckoning to Suzuki, she 
shows Sharpless her little fair-haired, blue-eyed boy, 
begging the consul to write and tell her husband that 
his child is awaiting him. 

Sharpless, deeply touched, takes leave of her, with- 
out having shown the letter, when Suzuki enters 
screaming and accusing Goro, who has goaded her to 
fury, by spreading a report in the town that the child's 
father is not known. 

"You lie, you coward!" cries Butterfly, seizing a 
knife to kill the wretch. But suppressing her wrath 
she throws away the weapon and kicks him from her 
in disgust. Suddenly a cannon-shot is heard. Run- 
ning on to the terrace, Butterfly perceives a war-ship in 
the harbor, bearing the name "Abraham Lincoln." It 
is Pinkerton's ship. 



246 THE OPERA 

All her troubles are forgotten; she bids her maid 
gather all the flowers in the garden ; these she scatters 
around in profusion. Then she brings her boy, and 
bids Suzuki comb her hair, while she herself rouges her 
pale cheeks and those of her child. Then they sit 
down behind a partition, in which they have made 
holes, through which they may watch the ship and 
await Pinkerton's arrival. 

The third act finds them in the same position. Suzu- 
ki and the child have fallen asleep, while Butterfly, 
sleepless, watches for Pinkerton. Suzuki waking sees 
that it is morning and begs her mistress to take some 
rest. Butterfly, taking her child in her arms, retires 
into the inner room. 

A loud knock is heard, and Suzuki finds herself in 
the presence of Sharpless and Pinkerton. The latter 
signs to her not to waken Butterfly. Suzuki is show- 
ing him the room adorned with flowers for his arrival, 
when she suddenly perceives a lady walking in the 
garden and hears that she is Pinkerton's lawful Amer- 
ican wife. 

Sharpless, taking the maid aside, begs her to pre- 
pare her mistress for the coming blow and tells her 
that the foreign lady desires to adopt her husband's 
little boy. Pinkerton himself is deeply touched by the 
signs of Butterfly's undying love. Full of remorse, he 
entreats Sharpless to comfort her as best he can, and 
weeping, leaves the scene of his first love-dream. 

His wife Kate returning to the foot of the terrace, 
sweetly repeats her wish to adopt the little boy, when 
Butterfly, emerging from the inner room, comes to look 
for her long-lost husband, whose presence she feels 
with the divination of love. Seeing Sharpless standing 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 247 

by a foreign lady, and Suzuki in tears, the truth sud- 
denly bursts upon her. "Is he alive?" she asks, and 
when Suzuki answers **yes," she knows that he has 
forsaken her. 

Turned to stone, she listens to Kate's humble apolo- 
gies and to her offer to take the child. By a supreme 
effort she controls herself. "I will give up my child 
to him only; let him come and take him; I shall be 
ready in half an hour," she answers brokenly. 

When Sharpless and Kate have left her, Butterfly 
sends Suzuki into another room with the child. Then, 
seizing her father's long knife, she takes her white 
veil, throwing it over the folding screen. Kissing the 
blade, she reads its inscription, "Honorably he dies who 
no longer lives in honor," and raises it to her throat. 
At this moment the door opens, and her child runs up 
to his mother with outstretched arms. Snatching him 
to her bosom, she devours him with kisses, then sends 
him into the garden. Seizing the knife once more, 
Butterfly disappears behind the screen, and shortly af- 
terward the knife is heard to fall. 

When Pinkerton's call, "Butterfly," is heard, she 
emerges once more from the background and drags 
herself to the door; but there her strength fails her 
and she sinks dead to the ground. 



248 THE OPERA 



MANON 

Opera in four acts by Jules Massenet 
Text by Meilhac and Gille. 

npHE subject of this opera is based on Prevost's 
^ famous novel "Manon Lescaut/* The scene is 
laid in France in 1721. 

The first act takes place in the courtyard of a large 
inn at Amiens. Several young cavaliers are amusing 
themselves by paying attentions to three pretty ladies. 
They impatiently call upon their host to bring dinner, 
and at last it is brought to them in great state. 

While they are dining in the large saloon above, the 
stage-coach arrives with a large number of travelers ; 
among them is young Manon, a country girl of sixteen ; 
this is her first journey, and is to end in a convent, an 
arrangement made by her parents, who think her taste 
for worldly pleasures is greater than it should be. She 
is expected by her cousin Lescaut, of the Royal Guard, 
and while he is looking for her luggage, the young 
beauty is accosted by Guillot Marfontaine, an old roue 
and rich farmer, who annoys her with his equivocal 
speeches and offers her a seat in his carriage. He is 
quickly driven away by Lescaut on his return; the 
young man is, however, enticed away by his comrades 
to play a game of cards, for which purpose he leaves 
his cousin a second time. Before long another cavalier 
approaches Manon; this time it is the Chevalier des 
Grieux, a young nobleman, whose good looks and 
charming manners please the young girl much better. 
They quickly fall in love with each other, and when 
Des Grieux oflFers to take her to Paris, Manon gladly 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 249 

consents, thankful to escape the convent. Remembering 
Guillot's offer, she proposes to make use of the farm- 
er's carriage, and they drive gaily off just before Les- 
caut returns to look for his cousin. When this worthy 
soldier hears that the fugitives have gone off in Guil- 
lot's carriage, he abuses the fanner with great fury and 
swears that he will not rest until he shall have found 
his little cousin. 

The second act takes place in a poorly-furnished 
apartment in Paris. Des Grieux is about to write to 
his father, whom he hopes to reconcile to his purpose 
of marrying Manon by telling him of the girl's beauty, 
of her youth and innocence. They are interrupted by 
the entrance of Lescaut, who, accompanied by De 
Bretigny, another victim of Manon's charms, comes to 
avenge the honor of the family. While Des Grieux 
takes Lescaut aside and pacifies him by showing him 
the letter he has just written, De Bretigny tells Manon 
that her lover will be kidnapped this very evening by 
his father's orders. Manon protests warmly against 

* 

this act of tyranny, but De Bretigny warns her that 
her interference would only bring greater harm to both 
of them, while riches, honors, and liberty will be hers 
if she lets things take their course. 

Manon, who on the one hand sincerely loves Des 
Grieux, while on the other hand she has a longing 
for all the good things of this world, is very unhappy, 
but allows herself to be tempted. When Des Grieux 
leaves her to post his letter she takes a most tender 
farewell of the little table at which they have so often 
sat, of the one glass from which they both drank, and 
of all the objects around. Des Grieux, finding her in 
tears, tries to console her by picturing the future of 



250 THE OPERA 

his dreams, a little cottage in the wood where they are 
to live forever happy and contented. A loud knock 
interrupts them; Manon, knowing what will happen, 
tries to detain him, but he tears himself from her 
and, opening the door, is at once seized and carried off. 

The third act opens on the promenade Cour-la-Reine 
in Paris, a scene of merry-making where all the buying, 
selling, and amusements of a great fair are going on. 
The pretty ladies of the first act, Yavotte, Poussette, 
and Rosette, are being entertained by new lovers, while 
rich old Guillot looks in vain for a sweetheart. 

Manon, who appears on De Bretigny's arm, is the 
queen of the festival. She has stifled the pangs of con- 
science which had troubled her when she left Des 
Grieux, and her passion for jewels and riches is as 
insatiable as ever. Guillot, who hears that De Bre- 
tigny has refused to comply with her last wish, which 
is to order the ballet of the grand opera to dance in 
the open market-place for her own amusement, rushes 
off to pay for this whim himself, hoping thereby to 
gain the young lady's favor. 

Manon slowly wanders about in search of new and 
pretty things to buy, while De Bretigny suddenly finds 
himself face to face with the old Count des Grieux. 
When he asks for news of his son the Count tells him 
that the young man has renounced the world and be- 
come an abbe and is a famous preacher at St.-Sulpice. 
He cuts De Bretigny's expressions of astonishment 
short by telling him that this turn of things is due to 
De Bretigny's own conduct, meaning that the latter had 
done a bad turn to his friend by crossing his path in 
relation to a certain pretty young lady. De Bretigny, 
indicating his lady-love by a gesture, says, 'That is 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 251 

Manon/* and the Count, perceiving her beauty, quite 
understands his son's infatuation. 

But Manon's quick ears have also caught bits of the 
conversation, and beckoning to her lover she sends him 
away to buy a golden bracelet for her. She then ap- 
proaches the Count and asks if his son has quite over- 
come his passion for the lady who, she says, was a 
friend of hers. The old man acknowledges that his 
son had had a hard struggle with his love and grief, but 
adds, "One must try and forget," and Manon repeats 
the words and falls into a fit of sad musing. 

Meanwhile Guillot has succeeded in bringing the 
ballet-dancers, who perform a beautiful gavotte and 
other dances. When these are ended he turns to 
Manon in hope of a word of praise, but the willful 
beauty only turns from him to order her carriage, 
which is to take her to St.-Sulpice, saying lightly to 
Guillot that she has not cared to look at the ballet 
after all. 

The next scene takes place in the parlor of the semi- 
nary in St.-Sulpice. A crowd of ladies has assembled 
to praise the new abbe's fine preaching. They at last 
disperse when the young abbe enters with downcast 
eyes. He is warmly greeted by his father, who has 
followed him. The father at first tries to persuade him 
to give up his newly chosen vocation before he finally 
takes the vows, but, seeing him determined, the Count 
hands him over his mother's inheritance of 30,000 
livrcs and then bids him good-by. The young man re- 
tires to find strength and forgetfulness in prayer. 

When he returns to the parlor he finds Manon. She 
has also prayed fervently that God would pardon her 
and help her to win back her lover's heart. A passion- 



252 THE OPERA 

ate scene ensues in which Manon implores his forgive- 
ness and is at last successful. Des Grieux opens his 
arms to her and abandons his vocation. 

The fourth act opens in the luxurious drawing-rooms 
of a great Paris hotel. Games of hazard and lively 
conversation are going on everywhere. Manon, ar- 
riving with Des Grieux, is joyously greeted by her old 
friends. She coaxes her lover to try his luck at play 
and is seconded by her cousin Lescaut, himself an in- 
veterate gambler, who intimates that fortune always 
favors a beginner. Guillot offers to play with Des 
Grieux, and truly fortune favors him. After a few 
turns, in which Guillot loses heavily, the latter rises, 
accusing his partner of false play. 

The Chevalier, full of wrath, is about to strike him, 
but the others hold him back and Guillot escapes, 
vowing vengeance. He soon returns with the police 
headed by the old Count des Grieux, to whom he de- 
nounces young Des Grieux as a gambler and a cheat 
and points out Manon as his accomplice. Old Count 
des Grieux allows his son to be arrested, telling him 
he will soon be released. Poor Manon is seized by 
the guards, though all the spectators, touched by her 
youth and beauty, beg for her release. The old Count 
says she only gets her deserts. 

The last scene takes place on the high road leading 
to Havre. Cousin Lescaut meets Des Grieux, whom 
he promised that he would try to save Manon from 
penal servitude by effecting her escape. Unfortunately 
the soldiers he employed had meanly deserted him, on 
hearing which Des Grieux violently upbraids him. 
Lescaut pacifies the desperate nobleman by saying that 
he has thought of other means of rescuing Manon. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 253 

Soon the wagons conveying the convicts to their des- 
tination are heard approaching. One of these wagons 
stops. Lescaut, accosting one of the soldiers in charge, 
hears that Manon is inside, dying. He begs that he 
may be allowed to take a last farewell of his little 
cousin, and bribing the man with money, he succeeds 
in getting Manon out of the wagon, promising to 
bring her to the nearest village in due time. 

Manon, sadly changed, totters forward and finds 
herself clasped in her lover's arms. For a little while 
the two forget all their woes in the joy of being to- 
gether; Manon deeply repents of her sins and follies 
and humbly craves his pardon, while he covers her 
wan face with kisses. Then he tries to raise her, im- 
ploring her to fly with him, but alas ! release has come 
too late; she sinks back and expires in her lover's 
embrace. 

MANRU 

Opera in three acts by Ignace Jan Paderewski. 

Text by Nossig. 

'T^HE scene is laid in the Hungarian Tatra mountain 
^ district. 
Manru, a wandering gypsy, has fallen in love with 
a peasant girl, Ulana, and has married her against her 
mother's wishes. 

In the first act mother Hedwig laments her daugh- 
ter's loss. While the village lasses are dancing and 
frolicking, Ulana returns to her mother to ask her for- 
giveness; she is encouraged by a hunchback, Urok, 
who is devoted to her, and who persuades the mother 
to forgive her child, on condition that she shall leave 



254 THE OPERA 

her husband. As Ulana refuses, though she is in dire 
need of bread, Hedwig sternly shuts her door upon 
her daughter. Ulana turns to Urok, who does his best 
to persuade her to leave her husband. 

Urok is a philosopher; he warns the poor woman 
that gypsy blood is never faithful, and that the time 
will come when Manru will leave wife and child. Ula- 
na is frightened. Finally she obtains from Urok a 
love-potion, by which she hopes to secure her hus- 
band's constancy. 

When she tries to turn back into the mountains, she 
IS surrounded by the returning villagers, who tease and 
torment her and the hunchback until Manru comes to 
their rescue. But his arrival only awakes the villagers' 
wrath. They fall upon him, and are about to kill him, 
when mother Hedwig comes out and warns them not 
to touch the outlaws on whom her curse has fallen. 

The second act takes place in Manru's hiding-place 
in the mountains. The gypsy is tired of the idyl. He 
longs for freedom, and quarrels with his wife, whose 
sweetness bores him. She patiently rocks her child's 
cradle and sings him to rest. Suddenly Manru hears 
the tones of a gypsy fiddle in the distance. He follows 
the sound, and soon returns with an old gypsy, who 
does his best to lure him back to his tribe. But once 
more love and duty prevail; and when Ulana sweetly 
presents him the love-potion he drains it at one draught. 
Immediately feeling the fire of the potent drug, he be- 
comes cheerful, and receives his wife, who has adorned 
herself with a wreath of flowers, with open arms. 

In the third act Manru rushes out of the small close 
hut. His intoxication is gone; he gasps for air and 
freedom. Wearily he stretches himself on the ground 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 255 

and falls asleep. The full moon shines on him and 
throws him into a trance, during which he rises to fol- 
low the gypsy tribe, whose songs he hears. In this 
state he is found by Asa, the gypsy Queen, who loves 
him and at once claims him as her own. 

But the tribe refuse to receive the apostate, and Oros, 
their chief, pronounces a terrible anathema against 
him. However, Asa prevails with her tribe to pardon 
Manru. Oros in anger flings down his staff of office 
and departs, and Manru is elected chief in his place. 
Once more he hesitates, but Asa's beauty triumphs ; he 
follows her and his own people. 

At this moment Ulana appears. Seeing that her hus- 
band has forsaken her, she implores Urok, who has 
been present during the whole scene, to bring Manru 
back to her. Alas! it is in vain. When Ulana sees 
Manru climbing the mountain path arm in arm with 
Asa, she drowns herself in the lake. 

But Manru does not enjoy his treachery. Oros, hid- 
den behind the rocks, is on the watch for him, and tear- 
ing Asa from him, he precipitates his rival from the 
rocks into the lake. 

In this opera Paderewski has shown great skill in his 
treatment of the story, which conveys the spirit of his 
people as expressed in their songs and dances, and re- 
veals the weird nature of the wandering tribes whose 
music he likewise adapts with telling effect. In his 
choice of the subject, no less than in the handling of it, 
he displays a true talent for dramatic work. 



256 THE OPERA 

MARTHA 

Comic Opera in four acts by Friedrich von Flotow. 
Text by St George and Friedrich. 

T ADY HARRIET DURHAM, tired of the pleas- 
^^ ures and splendors of court, determines to seek 
elsewhere for pastime, and hoping to find it in a sphere 
different from her own, disguises herself and her con- 
fidante Nancy as peasant girls, in which garb they 
visit the fair at Richmond, accompanied by Lord Tris- 
tan, who is hopelessly enamored of Lady Harriet and 
unwillingly complies with her WMsh to escort them to 
the adventure in the attire of a peasant. They join the 
servant girls who are there to seek employment and 
are hired by a tenant, Plunkett, and his foster-brother 
Lionel, a youth of somewhat extraordinary behavior, 
his air being noble and melancholy and much too re- 
fined for a country squire, while the other, though 
somewhat rough, is frank and jolly in his manner. 

The disguised ladies take the handsel from them 
without knowing that they are bound by it, until the 
sheriff^ arrives to confirm the bargain. Now the joke 
becomes reality and they hear that they are actually 
hired as servants for a whole year. 

Notwithstanding Lord Tristan's protestations, the 
ladies are carried oflF by their masters, who know them 
under the names of Martha and Julia. 

In the second act we find the ladies in the company 
of the tenants, who set them instantly to work. Of 
course they are totally ignorant of household work, 
and as their wheels will not go round, Plunkett shows 
them how to spin. In his rough but kind way he 
always commands and turns to Xancy, with whom he 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 257 

falls in love, but Lionel only asks softly when he wishes 
anything done. He has lost his heart to Lady Harriet 
and declares his love to her. Though she is pleased 
by his gentle behavior, she is by no means wiUing to 
accept a country squire and wounds him by mockery. 
Meanwhile Plunkett has sought Nancy for the same 
purpose, but she hides herself, and at last the girls are 
sent to bed very anxious and perplexed at the turn 
their adventure has taken. But Lord Tristan comes to 
their rescue in a coach and they take flight, vainly pur- 
sued by the tenants. Plunkett swears to catch and 
punish them, but Lionel sinks into deep melancholy 
from which nothing can arouse him. 

In the third act we meet them at a court hunt, where 
they recognize their hired servants in two of the lady 
hunters. They assert their right, but the ladies dis- 
own them haughtily, and when Lionel, whose reason 
almost gives way under the burden of grief and shame 
which overwhelms him at thinking himself deceived by 
Martha, tells the whole story to the astonished court, 
the ladies pronounce him insane and Lord Tristan 
sends him to prison for his insolence, notwithstanding 
Lady Harriet and Nancy's prayer for his pardon. 

Lionel gives a ring to Plunkett, asking him to show 
it to the Queen, his dying father having told him that 
it would protect him from every danger. 

In the fourth act Lady Harriet feels remorse for 
the sad consequences of her haughtiness. She visits 
the prisoner to crave his pardon. She tells him that 
she has herself carried his ring to the Queen and that 
he has been recognized by it as Lord Derby's son, once 
banished from court, but whose innocence is now 
proved. 



258 THE OPERA 

Then the proud lady offers hand and heart to Lionel, 
but he rejects her, believing himself duped. Lady 
Harriet, however, who loves Lionel, resolves to win 
him against his will. She disappears, and dressing her- 
self and Nancy in the former peasant's attire she goes 
once more to the fair at Richmond, where Lionel is also 
brought by his friend Plunkett. He sees his beloved 
Martha advance toward him, promising to renounce 
all splendors and live only for him ; then his melancholy 
vanishes, and he weds her, his name and possessions 
being restored to him, while Plunkett obtains the hand 
of pretty Nancy, alias Julia. 

MASANIELLO, or LA MUETTE DE PORTICI 
(The Dumb Girl of Portici) 

Opera in five acts by Daniel F. E. Auber. 
Text by Scribe. 

TN the first act we witness the wedding of Alfonso, 
^ son of the viceroy of Naples, with the Spanish 
princess Elvira. Alfonso, who has wronged Fenella, 
the Neapolitan Masaniello's dumb sister, and aban- 
doned her, is tormented by doubts and remorse, fear- 
ing that she has committed suicide. During the festi- 
val Fenella rushes in to seek protection from the vice- 
roy, who has kept her a prisoner for the past month. 
She has escaped from her prison and narrates the 
story of her undoing by gestures, showing a scarf 
which her lover gave her. Elvira promises to protect 
her and proceeds to the altar, Fenella vainly trying to 
follow. In the chapel Fenella recognizes her betrayer 
in the bridegroom of Elvira. When the newly married 
couple come out of the church, Elvira presents Fenella 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 259 

to her husband and discovers from the dumb girl's 
gestures that he was her faithless lover. Fenella flees, 
leaving Alfonso and Elvira in sorrow and despair. 

In the second act the fishermen, who have been 
brooding in silence over the tyranny of their foes, be- 
gin to assemble. Pietro, Masaniello's friend, has 
sought for Fenella in vain, but at length she appears of 
her own accord and confesses her wrongs. Masaniello 
is infuriated and swears to have revenge, but Fenella, 
who still loves Alfonso, does not mention his name. 
Then Masaniello calls the fishermen to arms and they 
swear perdition to the enemy of their country. 

In the third act we find ourselves in the market-place 
in Naples where the people go to and fro, selling and 
buying, all the while concealing their purpose under a 
show of merriment and carelessness. Selva, the officer 
of the viceroy's bodyguard, from whom Fenella has 
escaped, discovers her, and the attempt to rearrest her 
is the sign for a general revolt, in which the people are 
victorious. 

In the fourth act Fenella comes to her brother's 
dwelling and describes the horrors which are taking 
place in the town. The relation fills his noble soul 
with sorrow and disgust. When Fenella has retired to 
rest, Pietro enters with comrades and tries to excite 
Masaniello to further deeds, but he only wants liberty 
and shrinks from murder and cruelties. 

They tell him that Alfonso has escaped and that they 
are resolved to overtake and kill him. Fenella, who 
hears all, decides to save her lover. At this moment 
Alfonso begs at her door for a hiding-place. He en- 
ters with Elvira, and Fenella, though at first disposed 
to avenge herself on her rival, pardons her for Alfon- 



26o THE OPERA 

so's sake. Masaniello, reentering, assures the stran- 
gers of his protection, and even when Pietro denounces 
Alfonso as the viceroy's son he holds his prcnnise 
sacred. Pietro, with his fellow-conspirators, leaves 
him full of rage and hatred. Meanwhile the magis- 
trate of the city presents Masaniello with the royal 
crown and he is proclaimed King of Naples. 

In the fifth act we fin J Pietro with the other fisher- 
men before the viceroy's palace. He confides to More- 
no that he has administered poison to Masaniello in 
order to punish him for his treason and that the King 
of one day will soon die. While he speaks Borella 
rushes in to tell of a fresh troop of soldiers marching 
against the people with Alfonso at their head. Know- 
ing that Masaniello alone can save them, the fishermen 
entreat him to take the command of them once more, 
and Masaniello, though deadly ill and half bereft of his 
reason, complies with their request. The combat takes 
place while an eruption of Vesuvius is going on. 
Masaniello falls in the act of saving Elvira's life. On 
hearing these terrible tidings Fenella rushes to the ter- 
race, from which she leaps into the abyss beneath, 
while the fugitive noblemen again take possession of 
the city. 

MEFISTOFELB 

Opera in four acts, with prologue and epilogue, 1?y Arrigo 

Boito. 

TN the prologue Mefistofele is commanded to visit 
'*' the earth, where he is to tempt the doctor and 
philosopher Faust, who is sclf-satistied in his own wis- 
dom. The cherubim prostrate themselves before the 
Most High, and the voices of repentant sinners are 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 261 

heard in prayer. Angelic voices swell the chorus, 
which is full of beauty and strength. 

The first act takes us to Frankfort on a festival day. 
Bells are ringing in merry chorus. Soldiers, students, 
and peasants mingle in the crowd, cheering as the elec- 
tor appears. The peasants take partners for the dance, 
and Faust enters with Wagner, a student. In the 
crowd they observe a friar, clad in a gray robe, and 
strangely sinister in appearance. Wherever they go 
they find him at Faust's elbow. Finally Faust declares 
that it must be the devil. To escape the man, Faust 
returns to his study, but Mefistofele — for the friar is 
none other — stands in a dark comer awaiting him. 
Faust apostrophizes Nature, and, soothed by pastoral 
musings, opens his Bible. The fiend, with a loud 
scream, shows himself, but recovering, answers Faust's 
questions as to his identity and his business there, by 
proclaiming himself as the Evil One. His gray robe 
falls from him, and he appears richly dressed. He is 
ready to do Faust's bidding in exchange for his soul. 
On his magic cloak Mefistofele carries the philosopher 
away. 

In the second act we see Faust and Marguerite walk- 
ing arm in arm in a garden, while Mefistofele makes 
violent love to Martha, Marguerite's mother, who is 
greatly flattered. The lovers wander off under the 
trees, and forget time and space, until Mefistofele re- 
minds Faust that they must leave. The scene changes 
to the Brocken. It is the Witches' Sabbath. The 
witches dance and sing in weird revelry ; they make in- 
cantations, bringing before Faust a realistic picture of 
Marguerite's sorrowful fate. Mefistofele receives 
from them a crystal ball, which he balances on his hand. 



262 THE OPERA 

saying, "Behold the earth." To the sound of diabolic 
music the witches disappear. 

Act third shows Marguerite in prison. She has been 
convicted of killing her child, and is about to be execu- 
ted. She becomes insane, calling upon God for pardon. 
Faust appears to take her away, but she scarcely under- 
stands his words. The day breaks, and Mefistofele 
summons Faust to depart, just as Marguerite falls back 
dead. Angelic voices chant of pardon and peace. 

In the fourth act we are taken to the banks of a river 
in Greece. Here Faust and Mefistofele meet Pantalis 
and Helen of Troy, to whom Faust makes ardent love. 
Helen dramatically describes the fall of Troy, and the 
tragic events to which it gave rise. A change of scene 
introduces the epilogue. Faust is in his study consid- 
ering his past life, which he regrets bitterly. Mefisto- 
fele, appearing once more, offers to transport him on 
his cloak anywhere he desires to go. Faust refuses to 
accompany him, and angel voices are heard as in the 
prologue and in the third act. Baffled, the fiend sur- 
rounds Faust with voluptuous women, who tempt him 
with every art in their power. Once more the philos- 
opher opens his Bible, and therein reads that the vilest 
sinner if repentant can be saved. He prays fervently 
for protection from evil, and dies. Roses cover his 
body in token of Heaven's forgiveness. Mefistofele 
vanishes, utterly discomfited. In a magnificent finale 
angelic voices proclaim that the powers of evil are van- 
quished, and Faust receives his pardon. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 263 

DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NURNBERG 
(The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) 

Opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. 

IN the first act we see St. Catherine's Church in 
Nuremberg, where divine service is being cele- 
brated in preparation for St. John's day. Eva, the 
lovely daughter of Master Pogner the jeweler, sees the 
young knight Walther von Stolzing, who has fallen in 
love with Eva and who has sold his castle in Franconia 
to become a citizen of Nuremberg. She tells him that 
her hand is promised to the winner of the prize in the 
mastersingers' contest, to be held the next morning. 

We are now called to witness one of those ancient 
customs still sometimes practised in old German 
towns. The mastersingers appear and the apprentices 
prepare everything needful for them. Walther asks 
one of them, called David, an apprentice of Hans 
Sachs, what he will have to do in order to compete for 
the prize. He has not learned poetry as a profession 
like those worthy workmen, and David vainly tries to 
initiate him into their old-fashioned rhyming. Walther 
leaves him, determined to win the prize after his own 
fashion. 

Pogner appears with Beckmesser the clerk, who has 
the wish to be his son-in-law. Beckmesser is so in- 
fatuated that he does not doubt of his success. Mean- 
while Walther comes up to them, entreating them to 
admit him into their corporation as a mastersinger. 

Pogner consents, but Beckmesser grumbles, not at 
all liking to have a nobleman among them. When all 
?ire assembled, Pogner declares his intention of giving 



264 THE OPERA 

his daughter to the winner of the contest on the day 
of St. John's festival, and all applaud his resolution. 
Eva herself may refuse him, but never is she to wed 
another than a crowned mastersinger. Sachs, who 
loves Eva as his own child, seeks to change her father's 
resolution, at the same time proposing to let the people 
choose in tlie matter of the prize, but he is silenced by 
his colleagues. They now want to know where Wal- 
ther has learned the art of poetry and song, and as he 
designates the book of Walther von der Vogelweide, 
they shrug their shoulders. 

He begins at once to give a proof of his art, prais- 
ing Spring in a song thrilling with melody. Beckmes- 
ser interrupts him; he has marked the rhymes on the 
black tablet, but they are new and unintelligible to this 
dry verse-maker, and he will not let them pass. The 
others share his opinion ; only Sachs differs with them, 
remarking that Walther's song, though not after tlie 
old rules of Nuremberg, is justified all the same, and 
so Walther is allowed to finish it, which he does with a 
bold mockery of the vain poets, comparing them to 
crows oversounding a singing-bird. Sachs alone feels 
that Walther is a true poet. 

In the second act David the apprentice tells Magda- 
lene, Eva's nurse, that the new singer did not succeed, 
at which slie is honestly grieved, preferring the gal- 
lant younker for her mistress to the old and ridiculous 
clerk. The old maid loves David ; she provides him 
with food and sweets, and many are the railleries which 
he has to suffer from his companions in consequence. 

Evening coming on, we see Sachs in his open work- 
shop ; Eva, his darling, is in confidential talk with him. 
She is anxious about to-morrow, and rather than wed 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 265 

Beckmesser she would marry Sachs, whom she loves 
and honors as a father. Sachs is a widower, but he 
rightly sees through her schemes and resolves to help 

the lovers. 

It has now grown quite dark and Walther comes to 
see Eva, but they have not sat long together when the 
sounds of a lute are heard. 

It is Beckmesser trying to serenade Eva, but Sachs 
interrupts him by singing himself, and thus excites 
Beckmesser's wrath and despair. At last r window 
opens and Beckmesser, taking Magdalene for Eva, 
addresses her in louder and louder tones, Sachs all the 
time beating the measure on a shoe. The neighboring 
windows open, there is a general alarm, and David, 
seeing Magdalene at the window apparently listening 
to Beckmesser, steals behind this unfortunate minstrei 
and begins to slap him. In the uproar which now 
follows, Walther vainly tries to escape from his refuge 
under the lime-tree, but Sachs comes to his rescue and 
takes him into his own workshop, while he pushes Eva 
unseen into her father's house, the door of which has 
just been opened by Pogner. 

In the third act we find Sachs in his room. Walther 
enters, thanking him heartily for the night's shelter. 
Sachs kindly shows him the rules of poetry, encourag- 
ing him to try his luck once more. Walther begins 
and quite charms Sachs with his love-song. After they 
have left the room, Beckmesser enters and, reading the 
poetry which Sachs wrote down, violently charges the 
shoemaker with wooing Eva himself. Sachs denies it 
and allows Beckmesser to keep the paper. The latter, 
who has vainly ransacked his brains for a new song, is 
full of joy, hoping to win the prize with it. 



266 THE OPERA 

When he is gone Eva slips in to get her shoes, and 
she sees Walther stepping out of his dormitory in 
brilliant array. He has found a third stanza to his 
song, which he at once produces. They all proceed to 
the place where the festival is to be held, and Beck- 
messer is the first to try his fortunes, which he does by 
singing the stolen song. He sadly muddles both mel- 
ody and words, and being laughed at, he charges Sachs 
with treachery, but Sachs quietly denies the authorship, 
pushing forward Walther, who now sings his stanzas 
inspired by love and poetry. It is needless to say that 
he wins the hearers* hearts as he has won those of 
Eva and Sachs, and that Pogner does not deny him his 
beloved daughter's hand. 

MIGNON 

Opera in three acts by Ambroisc Thomas. 
Text by Barbier and Carre, based on Goethe's "Wilhelm 

Meister." 

'"pHE first two acts take place in Germany. Lo- 
•■' thario, a half-demented old man, poorly clad as a 
wandering minstrel, seeks his lost daughter Sperata. 
Mignon comes with a band of gypsies, who abuse her 
because she refuses to dance. Lothario advances to 
protect her, but Jarno, the chief of the troop, only 
scorns him, until a student, Wilhelm Meister, steps 
forth and rescues her, a young actress named Philine 
compensating the gypsy for his loss by giving him all 
her loose cash. Mignon, grateful for the rescue, falls 
in love with Wilhelm and wants to follow and serve 
him, but the young man, though delighted with her 
loveliness and humility, is not aware of her love. 
Nevertheless he takes her with him. He is of good 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 267 

family, but by a whim just now stays with a troop of 
comedians, to whom he takes his protegee. 

The coquette PhiHne loves Wilhelm and has com- 
pletely enthralled him by her arts and graces. She 
awakes bitter jealousy in Mignon, who tries to drown 
herself but is hindered by the sweet strains of Lo- 
thario's harp, which appeal to the noble feelings of her 
nature. The latter always keeps near her, watching 
over the lovely child. He instinctively feels himself 
attracted toward her; she recalls his lost daughter to 
him and he sees her as abandoned and lonely as him- 
self. Mignon, hearing how celebrated Philine is, 
wishes that the palace, within which Philine plays, 
might be struck by lightning, and Lothario at once sets 
the house on fire. 

While the guests rush into the garden, Philine orders 
Mignon to bring her nosegay, the same flowers which 
the thoughtless youth offered to his mistress Philine. 
Mignon, reproaching herself for her sinful wish, at 
once flies into the burning house, and only afterward 
does her friend Laertes perceive that the theater has 
caught fire too. Everybody thinks Mignon lost, but 
Wilhelm, rushing into the flames, is happy enough to 
rescue her. 

The third act carries us to Italy, where the sick Mi- 
gnon has been brought. Wilhelm, having discovered 
her love, which she reveals in her delirium, vows to 
live only for her. Lothario, no longer a minstrel, re- 
ceives them as the owner of the palace, from which 
he had been absent since the loss of his daughter. 
While he shows Mignon the relics of the past, a scarf 
and a bracelet of corals are suddenly recognized by 
her. She begins to remember her infantine prayers, 



268 THE OPERA 

she recognizes the hall with the marble statues and her 
mother's picture on the wall. With rapture Lothario 
embraces his long-lost Sperata. But Mignon's jealous 
love has found out that Philine followed her, and she 
knows no peace until Wilhelm has proved to her 
satisfaction that he loves her best. 

At last Philine graciously renounces Wilhelm and 
turns to Friedrich, one of her many adorers, whom to 
his own great surprise she designates as her future 
husband. Mignon at last openly avows her passion 
for Wilhelm. The people, hearing of the arrival of 
their master, the Marquis of Cipriani, alias Lothario, 
come to greet him with loud acclamations of joy, which 
grow still louder when he presents to them his daughter 
Sperata and Wilhelm, her chosen husband. 

NORMA 

Tragic Opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini. 

Text by Romani. 

XT ORMA, daughter of Orovist, chief of the druids 
^ and high priestess herself, has broken her vows 
and secretly married Pollio, the Roman proconsul. 
They have two children. But PoUio's love has van- 
ished. In the first act he confides to his companion Fla- 
vins that he is enamored of Adalgisa, a young priestess 
in the temple of Irminsul, the druids' god. 

Norma, whose secret nobody knows but her friend 
Clotilde, is worshiped by the people, being the only one 
able to interpret the oracles of their god. She prophe- 
sies Rome's fall, which she declares will be brought 
about not by the prowess of Gallic warriors but by its 
own weakness. She sends away the people to invoke 
alone the benediction of the god. When she also is 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 269 

gone, Adalgisa appears, and is persuaded by PoUio to 
flee with him to Rome. But remorse and fear induce 
her to confess her sinful love to Norma, whom she, like 
the others, adores. Norma, however, seeing the resem- 
blance to her own fate, promises to release her from 
her vows and give her back to the world and to happi- 
ness, but hearing from Adalgisa the name of her lover, 
who just then approaches, she of course reviles the 
traitor, telling the poor young maiden that Pollio is her 
own spouse. The latter defies her, but she bids him 
leave. Though as he goes he begs Adalgisa to follow 
him, the young priestess turns from the faithless lover 
and craves Normals pardon for the offense she has un- 
wittingly been guilty of. 

In the second act Norma, full of despair at Pollio's 
treason, resolves to kill her sleeping boys. But they 
awake and the mother's heart shudders as she thinks 
of her purpose ; then she calls for Clotilde and bids her 
bring Adalgisa. 

When she appears Norma entreats her to be a mother 
to Jier children and to take them to their father Pollio, 
because she has determined to free herself from shame 
and sorrow by a voluntary death. But the noble- 
hearted Adalgisa will not hear of this sacrifice. She 
promises to bring Pollio back to his first love. After a 
touching duet, in which they swear eternal friendship 
to each other. Norma takes courage again. Her hopes 
are vain, however, for Clotilde enters to tell her that 
Adalgisa's prayers were of no avail. Norma, distrust- 
ing her rival, calls her people to arms against the 
Romans and gives orders to prepare the funeral pile 
for the sacrifice. The victim is to be Pollio, who was 
captured in the act of carrying Adalgisa oflF by force. 



270 THE OPERA 

Norma orders her father and the Gauls away that she 
may speak alone with PolHo, to whom she promises 
safety if he will renounce Adalgisa and return to her 
and to her children. But Pollio, whose only thought is 
of Adalgisa, pleads for her and for his own death. 
Norma, denying it to him, calls the priests of the tem- 
ple to denounce as victim a priestess, who, forgetting 
her sacred vows, has entertained a sinful passion in 
her bosom and betrayed the gods. Then she firmly tells 
them that she herself is this faithless creature, but to 
her father alone does she reveal the existence of her 
children. 

Pollio, recognizing the greatness of her character, 
which impels her to sacrifice her own life in order to 
save him and her rival, feels his love for Norma re- 
vive, and stepping forth from the crowd of spectators, 
he takes his place beside her on the funeral pile. Both 
commend their children to Norma's father Orovist, 
who finally pardons the poor victims. 

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO 
(The Marriage of Figaro) 

Comic Opera in four acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

Text by Da Ponte. 

/^OUNT ALMAVIVA, though married to Rosina 
^^ and loving her ardently, cannot bring himself to 
cease playing the role of a gallant cavalier; he likes 
pretty women wherever he finds them, and notwith- 
standing his high moral principles, is carrying on a flir- 
tation with Rosina*s maid, the charming Susanna. This 
does not hinder him from being jealous of his wife, who 
is here represented as a character both sweet and pas- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE ^71 

sive. He suspects her of being overfond of her page, 
Cherubino. From the bystanders, Doctor Bartolo and 
Marcellina, we hear that their old hearts have not yet 
ceased to glow at the touch of youth and love ; Bartolo 
would fain give his affections to Susanna, while Mar- 
cellina pretends to have claims on Figaro. These are 
the materials which are so dexterously woven into the 
complicated plot and furnish so many funny passages. 
In the second act we find Cherubino in the rooms of 
the Countess, who, innocent and pure herself, sees in 
him only a child ; but this youth has a passionate heart 
and he loves his mistress ardently. Mistress and maid 
have amused themselves with Cherubino, putting him 
into women's dresses. The Count, rendered suspicious 
by a letter, given to him by Basilio, bids his wife open 
her door. The women, afraid of his jealousy, detain 
him a while, and only open the door when Cherubino 
has got safely through the window and away over the 
flower-beds. The Count, entering full of wrath, finds 
only Susanna with his wife. Ashamed of his suspi- 
cions, he asks her pardon and swears never to be 
jealous again. All blame in the matter of the letter is 
put on Figaro's shoulders, but this cunning fellow lies 
boldly, and the Count cannot get the clue to the mys- 
tery. Figaro and Susanna, profiting by the occasion, 
entreat the Count at last to consent to their wedding, 
which he has always put off. At this moment the gar- 
dener Antonio enters, complaining of the spoiled 
flower-beds. Figaro, taking all upon himself, owns 
that he sprang out of the window, having had an inter- 
view with Susanna and fearing the Count's anger. All 
deem themselves saved, when Antonio presents a docu- 
ment which the fugitive has lost. The Count, not quite 



272 THE OPERA 

convinced, asks Figaro to tell him the contents; but 
the latter, never at a loss, and discovering that it is the 
page's patent, says that the document was given to him 
by the page, the seal having been forgotten. The Count 
is about to let him off, when Bartolo appears with 
Marcellina, who claims a matrimonial engagement with 
Figaro. Her claim is favored by the Count, who wishes 
to see Susanna unmarried. Out of this strait, how- 
ever, they are delivered by finding that Figaro is the 
son of the old couple, the child of their early love; and 
all again promises well. But the Countess and Susanna 
have prepared a little punishment for the jealous hus- 
band as well as for the flighty lover. 

They have both written letters in which they ask the 
men to an interview in the garden. Susanna's letter 
goes to the Count, Rosina's to Figaro. Under cover 
of night each of the two women meets her own lover, 
but Susanna wears the Countess's dress, while Rosina 
has arrayed herself in Susanna's clothes. 

The Countess, not usually given to such tricks, is 
very anxious. While she awaits her husband, Cheru- 
bino approaches, and taking her for Susanna he, Hke 
a little Don Juan as he is, makes love to her. Hearing 
the Count's steps, he disappears. Almaviva caresses 
the seeming Susanna, telling her nice things and giving 
her a ring, which she accepts. They are observed by 
the other couple, and the sly Figaro, who has recog- 
nized Susanna notwithstanding her disguise, denounces 
the Count to her, vows eternal love, and generally 
makes his bride burn with wrath. In her anger she 
boxes his ears, upon which he confesses to having 
known her from the first, and at once restores her good 
humor. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 273 

Seeing the Count approach, they continue to play 
their former roles, and the false Countess makes love 
to Figaro, till the Count accosts her as **traitress." For 
a while she lets him suffer all the tortures of jealousy, 
then the lights appear and the Count stands ashamed 
before his lovely wife, recognizing his mistake. The 
gentle Couiitess forgives him, and the repenting hus- 
band swears eternal fidelity. He speedily unites the 
lovers Figaro and Susanna, and forgives even the little 
page Cherubino. 

DIE NURNBERGER PUPPE 
(The Nuremberg Doll) 

Comic Opera in one act by Adolphe Charles Adam. 
Text by Leuven and Beauplan. 

HP HE scene takes place in a toy-shop at Nuremberg. 
-*■ Cornelius, the owner, has an only son, Benjamin, 
whom he dearly loves notwithstanding his stupidity; 
while he is most unjust to his orphan nephew, Hein- 
rich, whom he keeps like a servant after having mis- 
appropriated the latter's inheritance. 

The old miser wants to procure a wife for his dar- 
ling, a wife endowed with beauty and every virtue; and 
as he is persuaded that such a paragon does not exist 
in life, he has constructed a splendid doll which he 
hopes to endow with life by the help of Doctor Faust's 
magic-book. 

He only awaits a stormy night for executing his de- 
sign. Meanwhile he enjoys life, and when presented 
to us is just going with Benjamin to a masked ball, 
after sending at the same time his nephew supperless 
to bed. When they have left, Heinrich reappears in 



274 THE OPERA 

the garb of Mephistopheles. He claps his hands and 
his fiancee Bertha, a poor seamstress, soon enters. 

Sadly she tells her lover that she is unable to go to 
the ball, having given all her money, which she had 
meant to spend on a dress, to a poor starving beggar- 
woman in the street. 

Heinrich, touched by his love's tender heart, good- 
humoredly determines to lay aside his mask, in order 
to stay at home with Bertha, when suddenly a bright 
idea strikes him. Remembering the doll, which his 
uncle hides so carefully in his closet, which has, how- 
ever, long been spied out by Heinrich, he shows it to 
Bertha, who delightedly slips into the doWs beautiful 
clothes, which fit her admirably. 

Unfortunately Cornelius and his son are heard re- 
turning while Bertha is still absent dressing. The night 
has grown stormy, and the old man deems it favorable 
for his design ; so he at once proceeds to open Faust's 
book and to begin the charm. 

Heinrich, who has hardly had time to hide himself 
in the chimney, is driven out by his cousin's attempts 
to light a fire. He leaps down into the room and the 
terrified couple take him for no other than the devil in 
person, Heinrich wearing his mask and being besides 
blackened by soot from the chimney. Perceiving his 
uncle's terror, he profits by it, and at once beginning a 
conjuration he summons the doll, that is to say. Bertha 
in the doll's dress. Father and son are delighted by 
her performances, but when she opens her mouth and 
reveals a very willful and wayward character, Corne- 
lius is less charmed. The doll peremptorily asks for 
food, and Mephistopheles indicates that it is to be 
found in the kitchen. While the worthy pair go to 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 275 

bring it, Mephistopheles, hastily exchanging words 
with his lady-love, vanishes into his sleeping-room. 

The doll now begins to lead a dance which makes the 
toymaker's hair stand on end. She first throws the 
whole supper out of the window, following it with 
plate, crockery, toys, etc. Then, taking a drum, she 
begins to drill them, slapping their ears, mouths, and 
cheeks as soon as they try to approach her. 

At last, when they are quite worn out, she flies into 
the closet. But now the father's spirit is roused, he 
resolves to destroy his and the devil's work ; however, 
he is hindered by Heinrich, who now makes his ap- 
pearance and seems greatly astonished at the uproar 
and disorder he finds in the middle of the night. He 
only wants to gain time for Bertha to undress and then 
escape. 

Resolutely the old man walks into the closet to slay 
the doll. But he returns pale and trembling, having 
destroyed her while asleep and believing to have seen 
her spirit escape through the window with fiendish 
laughter. Yet, awed by his deed, he sees Heinrich re- 
turning, who confesses to his uncle that he has found 
out his secret about the doll, and that, having acciden- 
tally broken it, he has substituted a young girl. Cor- 
nelius, half dead with fright, sees himself already ac- 
cused of murder ; his only salvation seems to lie in his 
nephew's silence and instant flight. Heinrich is will- 
ing to leave the country provided his uncle give him 
back his heritage, which consists of 10,000 thalers. 
After some vain remonstrances the old man gives him 
the gold. Heinrich, having gained his ends, now intro- 
duces Bertha, and the wicked old fool and his son see 
that they have been the dupes of the clever nephew. 



276 THE OPERA 

OBERON 

Romantic Opera in three acts by Karl Maria von Weber. 

English text by Planche. 

TN the first act we find Oberon, the elf-king, in 
"*- deep melancholy, which no gaiety of his subjects, 

however charming, avails to remove. He has quarreled 
witli his wife Titania, and both have vowed never to be 
reconciled until they find a pair of lovers faithful to 
each other in all kinds of adversity. Both long for the 
reunion, but the constant lovers are not to be found. 

Obcron's most devoted servant is little Puck, who 
has vainly roved over the world to find what his master 
needs. He has, however, heard of a valiant knight in 
Burgundy, Huon, who has killed Carloman, the son of 
Charlemagne, in a duel, having been insulted by him. 
Charlemagne, not willing to take his life for a deed of 
defense, orders him to go to Bagdad, to slay the favor- 
ite, sitting to the left of the Calif, and to wed the 
Calif's daugliter Rczia. Puck resolves to make this 
pair suit liis ends. He tells Oberon the above-men- 
tioned story, and by means of his Hly-scepter shows 
Huon and Rezia to him. At the same time these two 
behold each other in a vision, so that when they awake 
both are dccj)ly in love. 

Oberon wakes Huon and his faithful shield-bearer 
Schcrasmin, and promises his help in every time of 
need. He j)resents Huon with a magic horn, which will 
summon him at any time; Scherasmin receives a cup, 
which fills with wine of itself. Then he immediately 
transports them to Bagdad. 

There we find Rezia with her Arabian maid Fatima. 
The Calif's daughter is to wed Babekan, a Persian 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 277 

prince, but she has hated him ever since she saw Huon 
in her vision. Fatima has discovered the arrival of 
Huon. It is high time, for in the beginning of the 
second act we see the Calif with Babekan, who wants 
to celebrate the nuptials at once. Rezia enters, but at 
the same time Huon advances, recognizing in Rezia the 
fair one of his dream. He fights and stabs Babekan. 
The Turks attack him, but Scherasmin blows his magic 
horn and compels them to dance and laugh, until the 
fugitives have escaped. 

In the forest they are overtaken, but Huon and 
Scherasmin, who has come after his master with Fati- 
ma, put the pursuers to flight. 

Oberon now appears to the lovers, and makes them 
promise upon oath that they will remain faithful to 
each other under every temptation. He immediately 
after transports them to the port of Ascalon, from 
which they are to sail homeward. Oberon now puts 
their constancy to the proof. Puck conjures up the 
nymphs and the spirits of the air, who raise an awful 
tempest. Huon's ship sinks; the lovers are ship- 
wrecked. While Huon seeks for help, Rezia is cap- 
tured by the pirates, and Huon, returning to save her, 
is wounded and left senseless on the beach. Oberon 
now causes him to fall into a magic sleep, which is to 
last seven days. 

In the third act we find Scherasmin and his bride, 
Fatima, in Tunis dressed as poor gardeners. A cor- 
sair has saved the shipwrecked and sold them as slaves 
to the Emir of Tunis. Though poor and in captivity, 
they do not lose courage and are happy that they are 
permitted to bear their hard lot together. 

Meanwhile the seven days of Huon's sleep have 



278 THE OPERA 

passed. Awaking, he finds himself, to his astonish- 
ment, in Tunis, in the Emir's garden, with his servant 
beside him, who is not less astonished at finding his 
master. 

Fatima, coming back, relates that she has discovered 
Rezia in the Emir's harem. Huon, who finds a nose- 
gay with a message which bids him come to the myrtle- 
bower during the night, believes that it comes from 
Rezia and is full of joy at the idea of meeting his 
bride. Great is his terror when the lady puts aside her 
veil and he sees Roschana, the Emir's wife. She has 
fallen in love with the noble knight, whom she saw in 
the garden, but all her desires are in vain; he loathes 
her and is about to escape, when Emir enters, captures 
him, and sentences him to be consumed by fire. Ros- 
chana is to be drowned. Rezia, hearing of her lover's 
fate, implores the Emir to pardon him. But she has 
already oflfended him by her unwillingness to listen to 
his protestations of love, and when he hears that Huon 
is her husband, he condemns them to be burned to- 
gether. Their trials, however, are nearing their end. 
Scherasmin has regained his long-lost horn, by means 
of which he casts a spell on everybody, until, blowing it 
with all his might, he calls Oberon to their aid. The 
elf-king appears accompanied by Queen Titania, 
who is now happily reconciled to him, and thanking the 
lovers for their constancy, he brings them safely back 
to Paris, where Charlemagne holds his court. The 
Emperor's wrath is now gone and he warmly welcomes 
Sir Huon with his lovely bride, promising them honor 
and glory for their future days. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 279 

ORFEO ED EURIDICE 

Opera in three acts by Christoph Willibald Gluck. 

Text by Calzabigi. 

/^RFEO (Orpheus), the Greek legendary musician 
^^ and singer, has lost his wife Euridice. His mourn- 
ful songs fill the groves where he laments, and with 
them he touches the hearts not only of his friends but 
of the gods. On his wife's grave Amor appears to 
him and bids him descend into Hades, where he is to 
move the Furies and the Elysian shadows with his 
sweet melodies, and win back from them his lost wife. 

He is to recover her on a condition, which is, that he 
never casts a look on her on their return to earth; 
for if he fails in this, Euridice will be forever lost 
to him. 

Taking his lyre and casque Orfeo promises obedi- 
ence, and with new hope sallies forth on his mission. 
The second act represents the gates of Erebus, from 
which flames arise. Orfeo is surrounded by furies 
and demons, who try to frighten him ; but he, nothing 
daunted, mollifies them by his sweet strains and tnty 
set free the passage to Elysium, where Orfeo has to^ 
win the happy shadows. He beholds Euridice among 
them, veiled ; the happy shadows readily surrender her x 
to him, escorting the pair to the gates of their happy 
vale. 

The third act beholds the spouses on their way back 
to earth. Orfeo holds Euridice by the hand, drawing 
the reluctant wife on, but without raising his eyes to 
her face ; on and on through the winding and obscure 
paths which lead out of the infernal regions. Not- 
withstanding his protestations of love and his urgent 



28o THE OPERA 

demands to her to follow him, Euridice never ceases 
to implore him to cast a single look on her, threatening 
him with her death should he not fulfill her wish. Or- 
feo, forbidden to tell her the reason of his strange be- 
havior, long remains deaf to her cruel complaints, but 
at last he yields and looks back, only to see her expire 
under his gaze. Overwhelmed by grief and despair 
Orfeo draws his sword to destroy himself, when Amor 
appears and stays the fatal stroke. 

In pity for Orfeo's love and constancy he reanimates 
Euridice (contrary, however, to the letter of the Greek 
tragedy), and the act closes with a beautiful chorus 
sung in Amor's praise. 

OTELLO 

Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. 
Text by Boito. 

npHE first scene represents the people following ex- 
citedly the course of the ship that bears Otello 
( Othello), which battles with the waves. After he has 
landed and informed the assembly of his victory over 
the Turks, shouts of joy and exultation rend the air. 

Then follows a convivial chat between Cassio, Rod- 
rigo, and I ago, in the course of which the latter makes 
Cassio drunk. lago's demoniacal nature is masterful- 
ly depicted here, where he soon succeeds in ruining 
Cassio, who loses his rank as captain. 

In the third scene we see Desdemona with her hus- 
band, both rejoicing in the felicity of their mutual love. 

In the second act lago proceeds to carry out his evil 
intents, by sending Cassio to Desdemona, who is to 
intercede for him with Otello. . lago then calls Otello's 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 281 

attention to the retiring Cassio, and by making vile in- 
sinuations inflames his deadly jealousy. Desdemona 
appears, surrounded by women and children, who oft'er 
her flowers and presents. She comes forward to plead 
for Cassio, and Otello suspiciously refuses. She takes 
out her handkerchief to cool her husband's aching fore- 
head with it, but he throws it down and Emilia, lago's 
wife, picks it up. lago wrenches it from her and hides 
it. 

In the next scene lago's villainous insinuations work 
upon Otello, who becomes wildly suspicious. lago re- 
lates a dream of Cassio's, in which he reveals his love 
for Desdemona, then he hints that he has seen Otello's 
first love-token, her lace handkerchief, in Cassio's 
hands, and both swear to avenge Desdemona's infi- 
delity. 

In the third act Otello, pretending to have a head- 
ache, asks for Desdemona's lace handkerchief. She 
has lost it, she tells him, but he is incredulous and 
charges her with infidelity. All her protests are use- 
less, and at length he forces her to retire. Mean- 
while lago has brought Cassio and urges Otello to hide 
himself. Cassio has a lady-love named Bianca, and 
of her they speak, but lago dexterously turns the dia- 
logue so as to make Otello believe that they are speak- 
ing of his wife. His jealousy reaches its climax when 
Cassio draws forth Desdemona's handkerchief, which 
lago has deposited in Cassio's house. All his doubts 
now seem to be confirmed. A cannon-shot announcing 
the arrival of a galley interrupts the conversation and 
Cassio quickly leaves. 

In the following scene lago advises Otello to strangle 
. his wife. Otello consents, and gives lago a captaincy. 



282 THE OPERA 

Lodovico, an ambassador of Venice, arrives, with 
other nobles, to greet their liberator Otello. Desde- 
mona once more asks pardon for Cassio, but is rough- 
ly rebuked by her husband. Otello reads the order 
which has been brought to him, and tells Cassio that 
he is to be general in his stead by will of the Doge 
of Venice; but while Cassio is confounded by this 
sudden change of fortune, lago secretly vows his 
death, instigating his rival Rodrigo to kill him. At last 
Otello faints, overcome by conflicting emotions. 

In the fourth act Desdemona, filled with sad forebod- 
ings, takes a touching farewell of Emilia. When she 
has ended her fervent prayer (one of the most beauti- 
ful things in the opera), she falls into a peaceful slum- 
ber. Otello wakes her with a kiss, and tells her im- 
mediately thereafter that she must die. She protests 
her innocence, but in vain, for Otello, telling her that 
Cassio can speak no more, smothers her. Hardly has 
he completed his ghastly work than Emilia comes up, 
announcing that Rodrigo has been killed by Cassio. 
Desdemona with her dying breath once more asserts 
her innocence, while Emilia loudly screams for help. 
Wiien the others appear, Emilia discovers her hus- 
band's villainy. lago flees, and Otello stabs himself at 
the feet of his innocent spouse. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 283 

I PAGLIACCI 
(The Players) 

Musical Drama in two acts, with a prologue, by Ruggicro 

Leoncavallo. 

T N the prologue, a wonderful piece of music, Tonio, 
^ the clown, announces to the public the deep tragic 
sense which often is hidden behind a farce, and pre- 
pares them for the sad end of the lovers in this comedy. 
The introduction, with its wonderful largo, is like a 
mournful lamentation; then the curtain opens, show- 
ing the entry of a troop of wandering actors, so com- 
mon in Southern Italy. They are received with high 
glee by the peasants, and Canio, the owner of the troop, 
invites them ail to the evening's play. Canio looks 
somewhat gloomy, and he very much resents the taunts 
of the peasants, who court his beautiful wife Nedda 
and make remarks about the clown's attentions to her. 
Nevertheless Canio gives way to his friends' invitation 
for a glass of wine, and he takes leave of his wife with 
a kiss, which, however, does not quite restore her 
peace of mind, Nedda's conscience being somewhat 
disturbed. But soon she casts aside all evil forebodings 
and vies with the birds in warbling pretty songs, which, 
though reminding the hearer of Wagner's Siegfried, 
are of surpassing harmony and sweetness. Tonio spy- 
ing the moment to find Xedda alone, approaches her 
with a declaration of love, but she haughtily turns from 
him, and as he only grows more obtrusive and even 
tries to embrace her, she seizes a whip and slaps him 
in the face. Provoked to fury, he swears to avenge 
himself. Hardly has he turned away when the peasant 
Silvio appears on the wall. He is Nedda's lover, and. 



284 THE OPERA 

having seen Canio sitting in the tavern, he entreats 
Nedda to separate herself from the husband she never 
loved and take flight with him. Nedda hesitates be- 
tween duty and passion, and at last the latter prevails 
and she sinks into his arms. This love-duet is wonder- 
ful in style and harmony. Tonio unfortunately has 
spied out the lovers and returns with Canio. But, on 
perceiving the latter's approach, Silvio has leaped over 
the wall, his sweetheart's body covering his own person 
so that Canio is unable to recognize iiis rival ; he once 
more reminds Nedda to be ready that night, and then 
takes flight. With an inarticulate cry Canio rushes 
after him, and Nedda falls on her knees to pray for 
her lover's escape, while Tonio triumphs over her 
misery. The husband, however, returns defeated ; 
panting, he claims the lover's name, and Nedda's lips 
remaining sealed he is about to stab his wife when 
Beppo (Harlequin) intervenes. Wrenching the dag- 
ger from his unfortunate master's hands, he intimates 
that it is time to prepare for the play. While Nedda 
retires Canio breaks out into a bitter wail over his 
hard lot, which compels him to take part in the farce, 
which for him is bitter reality. With this air the tragic 
height of the opera is reached. 

In the second act the spectators throng before the 
small stage, each of them eager to get the best seat. 
Nedda appears dressed as Columbine, and while she is 
collecting the money she finds time to warn Silvio 
of her husband's wrath. The curtain opens and Ned- 
da is seen alone on the stage listening to the sentimen- 
tal songs of Harlequin, her lover in the play. Before 
she has given him the sign to enter, Tonio, in the 
play called Taddeo, the fool, enters, bringing the food 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 285 

which his mistress has ordered for herself and Harle- 
quin. Just as it really happened in the morning, the 
poor fool now makes love to her in play ; but when 
scornfully repulsed he humbly retires, swearing to 
the goodness and pureness of his lady-love. Harle- 
quin entering through the window, the two begin 
to ding merrily, but Taddeo reenters, in mocking 
fright, to announce the arrival of the husband. Canio, 
however, is in terrible earnest, and when he hoarsely 
exacts the lover's name the lookers-on, who hitherto 
have heartily applauded every scene, begin to feel the 
awful tragedy hidden behind the comedy. 

Nedda remains outwardly calm, and mockingly she 
names innocent Harlequin as the one who had dined 
with her. Then Canio begins by reminding her how 
he found her in the street a poor waif and stray, whom 
he nursed, petted, and loved, and Nedda remaining 
cold, his wrath rises to fury and he wildly curses her, 
shrieking, "The name, I will know his name!'' But 
Nedda, though false, is no traitress. "Should it cost 
my life I will never betray him !" she cries, at the same 
time trying to save her life by hurrying from the stage 
among the spectators. Too late, alas ! Canio already 
has reached and stabbed her, and Silvio, who rushes 
forward, also receives his death-stroke from the hands 
of the deceived husband, who has heard his name slip 
from the dying lips of his wife. All around stand 
petrified; nobody dares to touch the avenger of his 
honor, who stands by his wife's corpse limp and 
broken-hearted. "Go," says he, "go, the farce is 
ended." 



286 THE OPERA 

PARSIFAL 

G>nsecrational Stage Festival Drama by Richard Wagner. 

T^HE last, and in the opinion of the composer and 
-*• his family, the greatest of Wagner's compositions, 
was intended exclusively for the Festspielhaus in Bay- 
reuth, where the stage equipment was especially de- 
signed to permit of complete fidelity to the master's 
directions as to its performance. For years "Parsi- 
fal" continued to draw pilgrims from every part of 
Europe and America to the little Bavarian town, and 
had the terms of Wagner's will been obeyed, it would 
have remained unknown, save to these pilgrims, until 
1913. But American enterprise had not been reckoned 
with. Heinrich Conried, in 1903, found this work an 
excellent medium for drawing the attention of the 
whole musical world to the Metropolitan Opera House 
in New York. There followed litigation, protests from 
the Wagner family, and attacks from the pulpit, and 
when Conried had sold out his house with the stalls 
at $10, seats were sold at a premium as high as $85. 
Then Henry W. Savage gave an excellent production 
in English, and in two years* time America knew its 
"Parsifal" as well as its "Mikado." 

The first scene is laid in a forest on the grounds of 
the keepers of the Grail near Castle Monsalvat. Old 
Gurnemanz awakes two young squires for their morn- 
ing prayer, and bids two knights prepare a bath for the 
sick King Amfortas, who suffers cruelly from a 
wound, dealt him by the sorcerer Klingsor, the deadly 
foe of the Holy Grail. The Grail is a sacred cup, 
from which Christ drank at the last Passover, and 
which also received his blood. Titurel, Amfoctas's 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 287 

father, has built the castle to shield it, and appointed 
holy men for its service. While Gurnemanz speaks 
with the knights about their poor master's sufferings, 
in rushes Kundry, a sorceress in Klingsor's service, 
condemned to laugh eternally as a punishment for 
having derided Christ while he was suffering on the 
cross. She it was who with her beauty seduced Am- 
fortas and deprived him of his holy strength, so that 
Klingsor was enabled to wrest from the King his holy 
spear Longinus, with which he afterward wounded 
him. Kundry is in the garb of a servant of the Grail ; 
she brings balm for the King, who is carried on to the 
stage in a litter, but it avails him not : "a guileless fool" 
with a child's pure heart, who will bring back the holy 
spear and touch him with it, can alone heal his wound. 
Suddenly a dying swan sinks to the ground, and 
Parsifal, a young knight, appears. Gurnemanz re- 
proaches him severely for having shot the bird, but he 
appears to be quite ignorant of the fact that it was 
wrong, and, when questioned, proves to know nothing 
about his own origin. He only knows his mother's 
name "Herzeleid" (heart-break), and Kundry, who 
recognizes him, relates that his father Gamuret per- 
ished in battle, and that his mother reared him, a 
guileless fool, in the desert. When Kundry mentions 
that his mother is dead and has sent her last blessing 
to her son, Parsifal is almost stunned by this, his 
first grief. Gurnemanz conducts him to the castle, 
where the Knights of the Grail are assembled in a 
lofty hall. Amfortas is laid on a raised couch, and 
from behind Titurel's voice is heard imploring his son 
to efface his guilt in godly works. Amfortas, writhing 
with pain, is comforted by the prophecy: 



288 THE OPERA 

By pity lightened, the guileless fool — 
Wait for him — my chosen tool. 

The Grail is uncovered, the blessing given, and the 
repast of love begins. Amfortas's hope revives, but 
toward the end his wound bursts out afresh. Parsifal, 
on hearing Amfortas's cry of agony, clutches at his 
heart, without, however, understanding his own feel- 
ings. 

The second act reveals Klingsor's magic castle. 
Kundry, not as a demon now, but as a woman of im- 
perious beauty, is awakened by Klingsor to seduce 
Parsifal. She yearns for pardon, for sleep and death, 
but she struggles in vain against the fiendish KHngsor. 

The tower gradually sinks; a beautiful garden rises, 
into which Parsifal gazes with rapture and astonish- 
ment. Lovely maidens rush toward him, accusing him 
of having destroyed their lovers. Parsifal, surprised, 
answers that he slew them because they checked his 
approach to their charms. But when their tenderness 
waxes hotter he gently repulses the damsels and at last 
tries to escape. He is detained, however, by Kundry, 
who tells him again of his beloved mother, and when 
Parsifal is sorrow-stricken at having forgotten her 
in his thoughtless rambles, she consoles him, pressing 
his lips with a fervent kiss. This rouses the dreamy 
youth, he awakes to his duty, he feels the King's spear- 
wound burnmg; the unconscious fool is a fool no 
longer, but conscious of his mission and distinguishing 
right from wrong. He calls to the Saviour to save him 
from a guilty passion, and at last he starts up, spurn- 
ing Kundry. She tells him of her own crime, of Am- 
fortas's fall, and curses all paths and ways which would 
lead him from her. Klingsor, appearing at her cry. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 289 

flings the holy spear at Parsifal, but it remains floating 
over his head, and the youth, grasping it, destroys the 
magic by the sign of the cross. 

In the third act Gumemanz awakes Kundry from 
a deathlike sleep, and is astonished to find her changed. 
She is penitent and serves the Grail. Parsifal enters 
from the woods. Gurnemanz recognizes and greets 
him, after his wanderings in search of the Grail, which 
have extended over long years. Kundry washes his 
feet and dries them with her own hair. Parsifal, see- 
ing her so humble, baptizes her with water from the 
spring, and the dreadful laugh is taken from her; 
then she weeps bitterly. Parsifal, conducted to the 
King, touches his side with the holy spear, and the 
wound is closed. Old Titurcl, brought on the stage in 
his coffin, revives once more a moment, raising his 
hands in benediction. The Grail is revealed, pouring 
a halo of glory over all. Kundry, with her eyes fixed 
on Parsifal, sinks dead to the ground, while Amfortas 
and Gumemanz render homage to their new King. 

PAUL AND VIRGINIA 

Romantic Opera in three acts by Victor (Felix Marie) Masse. 

Text by Barbier and Carre. 

nrHE opera begins with a scene in the cottage of 
^ Marguerite, Paul's mother. She and Mme. de la 
Tour, mother of Virginia, are discussing their chil- 
dren, who have always been like brother and sister, but 
are now unconsciously drifting into a deeper feeling. 
Marguerite talks of sending Paul to India for a time. 
Domingucs, a trusted slave, starts up, protesting. 
Laughter and shouts are heard, when a ship from 



290 THE OPERA 

France is sighted ; Mme. de la Tour hurries off, think- 
ing it may bear news of the forgiveness of a wealthy 
aunt. Domingues talks of Paul and Virginia, won- 
dering what changes the money will cause, and, as a 
storm arises, goes to seek the young people, who pres- 
ently enter, laughing, shielded from the storm by a 
great banana-leaf, held above their heads. Virginia 
seats herself; Paul throws himself on a rug at her 
feet. As they innocently sing of their love and in- 
nocent pleasures, Meala, another slave, enters, foot- 
sore and weary. She is wounded by the lash of a 
whip. Virginia gives her food. They cannot keep an 
escaped slave, so Virginia offers to intercede for her 
with her master. 

The scene changes to the plantation of St. Croix. 
St. Croix appears, followed by two huge negroes with 
whips. He kicks and cuffs the slaves, and orders 
bloodhounds set on Meala's track. She enters with 
Paul and Virginia. Virginia, kneeling at his feet, 
sweetly asks his forgiveness for the slave. St. Croix, 
moved by her girlish beauty, grants what she asks, with 
a mental reservation. They turn to depart. St. Croix 
asks them to stay and rest after their long walk. The 
negroes sing, dance, and play for their amusement. 
Meala now sings alone, and in her song warns Paul 
that \'irginia will be in danger if she stays, as St. 
Croix is drinking heavily. They hurry away. St. 
Croix, in a rage, turns on Meala and orders her to be 
lashed while she can stand. He drinks himself into a 
stupor. Meala screams wildly, and St. Croix, rousing 
himself, orders the slaves to sing louder to drown her 
voice. Then follows an cnt/acte in the forest. 

The second act brings us to the house of Mme. de la 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 291 

Tour. Virginia is arrayed in festival attire and decked 
with jewels. Domingues sits on the floor, weaving a 
mat. Virginia's mother hands her a mirror. Domin- 
gues, shaking his head, declares that the gold will bring 
sorrow. Virginia is to go to France, and she is over- 
come with grief because she now realizes her love for 
Paul. Domingues advises her in a song not to go. 
Paul is at the door. He enters, but does not recog- 
nize the grand young lady before him as Virginia. She 
remains silent as he reproaches her, then hurries away. 
Marguerite, calling Paul, tells him that there is a stain 
upon his birth. They decide to depart forever. Meala 
warns them of the coming of St. Croix, who now ap- 
pears. Virginia, entering, buys Meala from him with 
some of the gold. Meala warns Paul to keep watch, 
or St. Croix will carry Virginia off. A change of 
scene shows a fountain beneath the trees; sea in the 
distance. Virginia enters, singing a joyous song, then 
falls asleep, while Meala hums a lullaby. Virginia sees 
in a vision the planter's house in flames. The governor 
brings an order from the king for Virginia's deporta- 
tion. They waken her, and she is swiftly carried to the 
ship. 

The third act opens on the seashore. Paul, now mel- 
ancholy, stands looking out to sea. He is half -crazed 
by grief. His mother is in despair. Paul receives 
a letter, in which Virginia tells of her loneliness and 
love for him. He sees in a vision a ballroom, with 
Virginia dancing a minuet, amid splendid surround- 
ings. Her harp is brought in ; she sings and her voice 
is wafted to her lover. He sings in unison with her, 
begging her to sing once more. Their voices seem to 
mingle regardless of intervening space. St. Croix ap- 



292 THE OPERA 

pears in the room beside her; she repulses him, and 
refuses his hand. Paul is entranced, and tells Domin- 
gues what he has seen. A ship is seen on the horizon 
approaching the island. A storm arises, causing it to be 
wrecked. Paul hears Virginia calling him, and at last 
her body is washed up on the shore at his feet, 

PELLl^AS ET M^LISANDE 

Opera in five acts by Claude Debussy. 
Text adapted from Maeterlinck's play. 

/^ OLAUD, a grandson of King Arkel, meets Meli- 
^-^ sande while wandering in the woods. A coronet 
she has worn has dropped into a well, but though she 
cries bitterly, she will not let Golaud fish it out; nor 
will she tell her name or country, although dressed like 
a princess, if somewhat in tatters. Golaud takes the 
maiden to the castle where he lives with Arkel, the 
old Queen Genevieve, and Yniold, his son by a wife 
some time deceased. Six months later Golaud, con- 
trary to a family compact, makes Melisande his wife, 
and takes her away, then writes to Pelleas, his half- 
brother, begging him to intercede with the old King, 
and effect a reconciliation. Genevieve reads this let- 
ter to Arkel, and they agree to welcome home the elop- 
ing lovers. Pelleas and Melisande meet for the first 
time in the castle garden when the latter returns as 
Golaud's bride. 

In the second act Pelleas and Melisande are disclosed 
chatting together near a well, into which Melisande 
drops her wedding ring. Instead of telling her hus- 
band the truth when he misses the ring, Melisande tells 
Golaud that she has lost it in a cavern by the sea. Go- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 293 

laud sends her to look for the ring, with Pelleas to 
guard her from danger. But the moon shines brightly 
as they wander together on the sands, and the two are 
taken in a pitfall of which the trusting husband had 
not dreamed. 

In the third act Golaud surprises Pelleas, who is 
passionately kissing Melisande's hair, which is of lux- 
uriant growth, and streams down to him from the bal- 
cony where she stands. By way of warning, he takes 
Pelleas through dungeons of the castle, suggestive of 
death and suffering, then commands him to avoid 
Melisande in future. 

The next scene is at night. Golaud learns from 
Yniold that Pelleas and Melisande still meet. Raising 
the child in his arms so that he can look into Meli- 
sande's room, Golaud ascertains that even then Pelleas 
and Melisande are together. 

In the fourth act Pelleas, at last realizing that he 
loves his brother's wife, tells Melisande that he is going 
away on a long journey. Then, as Arkel is expressing 
his sympathy to Melisande, and deploring the dullness 
of her surroundings, Golaud enters, bitterly reproaches 
Melisande for her misconduct, and swings her about 
by her long hair. The next scene is devoted to a child- 
ish soliloquy by Yniold, but the action is soon re- 
sumed. Pelleas and Melisande again meet, and again 
he avows his determination to go away. A mutual con- 
fession of love follows, and as Golaud enters they are 
locked in each other's arms. Drawing his sword, Go- 
laud strikes down Pelleas, then starts in pursuit of 
Melisande, who has fled. 

The fifth act takes place in Melisande's apartment 
in the castle. Melisande has been lying in a stupor. 



294 THE OPERA 

following a delirium in which she has given birth to a 
child. Golaud knows that she is dying, and reproaches 
himself for his violence. When Melisande regains 
consciousness, he begs her forgiveness, which she 
readily grants. Then he implores her to tell him if her 
relations with Pelleas were innocent, and if she really 
loved the dead man. To this she replies that she loved 
him, but that they were innocent. Still Golaud is tor- 
mented by doubt, which can never be resolved; for a 
moment later, when Melisande's child is brought to 
her, she is dead. 

PHILEMON ET BAUCIS 

Opera in two acts by Charles Frangois Gounod. 
Text by Barbier and Carre. 

T N the first act Jupiter comes to Philemon's hut, ac- 
•*• companied by Vulcan, to seek refuge from a storm, 
which the god himself has caused. He has come to 
earth to verify Mercury's tale of the people's badness, 
and finding the news only too true, besides being un- 
courteously received by the people around, he is glad to 
meet with a kindly welcome at Philemon's door. 

This worthy old man lives in poverty, but in perfect 
content with his wife Baucis, to whom he has been 
united in bonds of love for sixty years. Jupiter, see- 
ing at once that the old couple form an exception to the 
evil rule, resolves to spare them, and to punish only the 
bad folks. The gods partake of the kind people's sim- 
ple meal, and Jupiter, changing the milk into wine, is 
recognized by Baucis, who is much awed by the dis- 
covery. But Jupiter reassures her and promises to 
grant her only wish, which is, to be young again with 






'&mi^ 



THE COURT THEATER, DRESDEN 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 295 

her husband and to Hve the same Hfe. The god sends 
them to sleep, and then begins the intermezzo. 

Phrygians are seen reposing after a festival, bac- 
chants rush in and the wild orgies begin afresh. The 
divine is mocked and pleasure praised as the only 
god. Vulcan comes, sent by Jupiter to warn them, 
but as they only laugh at him, mocking Olympus and 
the gods, Jupiter himself appears to punish the sinners. 
An awful tempest arises, sending everything to wrack 
and ruin. 

In the second act Philemon's hut is changed into a 
palace; he awakes to find himself and his wife young 
again. Jupiter, seeing Baucis's beauty, orders Vul- 
can to keep Philemon apart, while he courts her. Bau- 
cis, though determined to remain faithful to her Phile- 
mon, feels, nevertheless, flattered at the god's conde- 
scension, and dares not refuse him a kiss. Philemon, 
appearing on the threshold, sees it, and violently re- 
proaches her and his guest, and, though Baucis sug- 
gests who the latter is, the husband does not feel in 
the least incHned to share his wife's love even with a 
god. The first quarrel takes place between the couple, 
and Vulcan, hearing it, consoles himself with the re- 
flection that he is not the only one to whom a fickle 
wife causes sorrow. Philemon bitterly curses Jupiter's 
gift; he wishes his wrinkles back, and with them his 
peace of mind. Throwing down Jupiter's statue, he 
leaves his wife to the god. Baucis, replacing the im- 
age, which happily is made of bronze, sorely repents 
her behavior toward her beloved husband. Jupiter 
finds her weeping, and praying that the gods may turn 
their wrath upon herself alone. The god promises to 
pardon both if she is willing to listen to his love. She 



296 THE OPERA 

agrees to the bargain, on condition that Jupiter shall 
grant her a favor. He consents, and she entreats him 
to make her old again. Philemon, listening behind the 
door, rushes forward to embrace the true wife and 
joins his entreaties to hers. Jupiter, seeing himself 
caught, would fain be angry, but their love conquers 
his wrath. He does not recall his gift, but giving them 
his benediction he promises never more to cross their 
happiness. 

THE PIPE OF DESIRE 

Romantic Opera in one act by Frederick S. Converse. 

Text by Barton. 

T^HIS opera, the first work of an American com- 
^ poser to be accepted for performance during the 
regular season of the Metropolitan Opera House, was 
produced there in 1910. Its first actual performance, 
with full stage accessories, took place January 31, 1906, 
in Boston. The book is highly poetic, the music ad- 
mirably descriptive. 

In a mountain glade, closed in by forest and rocks, 
through which one catches a glimpse of the valley 
below, the elves sing a joyous hymn, for it is spring, 
and the flowers are budding. lolan, a peasant much 
beloved by the elves, is seen approaching, and they de- 
termine that he shall witness their festivities. It is 
madness, the Old One, their king, tells them, but on the 
first day of spring their wishes are supreme. 

lolan thinks he must be dreaming as the fairy folk 
surround him, but he returns their expressions of good 
will, and shows them a purse containing the gold with 
which he means to buy a farm. Then he will wed 
Naoia, and he invites them all to the feast. The Old 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 297 

One alone is gloomy, and when the elves tell lolan that 
this is the mightiest of them all, he cannot understand. 
"Ten thousand years of life my crown," says the Old 
One, in explanation, "the earth my purse of gold, this 
Pipe, which hangs about my neck, the scepter of the 
world." 

In accordance with their annual custom, the elves 
demand that the Old One pipe for them, that they may 
dance. He protests, but is obliged to grant their re- 
quest, and the elves dance merrily. But lolan is not 
in the least awed by the Pipe. Any other would have 
served as well, he thinks, and he declares that no power 
on earth or in heaven can make him dance, save with 
his promised bride. The elves compel the Old One to 
play the Pipe again, and lolan is forced to dance. The 
elves jeer at him for doubting the potency of the 
charm, but in revenge he wrests the Pipe from the 
Old One, and the mirth of the elves instantly changes 
to terror. They offer him wealth and power if he 
will return this sacred instrument, for, says the Old 
One, "it is the Pipe God gave to Lilith and she played 
to man in Eden, but its charm was rent by woman." 
Still lolan will not heed the warning. The Old One 
pronounces accursed the mortal that dares to sound the 
Pipe, but lolan replies by blowing a harsh note, at 
which the elves, screaming with fear, retire into hid- 
ing. 

Again lolan sounds the Pipe, and as he does so, sees 
the vision of his utmost wish — a farm lying in a peace- 
ful valley, and wife and children waiting to wel- 
come him. "Naoia," he cries, "leave all! leave all 
and come to me." 

Regaining possession of the Pipe, the Old One says, 



298 THE OPERA 

"The Pipe but played the note of your desire," and 
disappears. Now lolan sees his beloved arise from 
bed, and, obeying his command, race toward him, dash- 
ing through streams, scaling the rocks, sometimes fall- 
ing, but always coming on, on, until at last she joins her 
lover, trembling and exhausted. The curse is soon 
fulfilled, for Naoia's journey has been too much for 
human endurance. She dies. Maddened at this great 
loss, lolan scatters the gold with which he had meant 
to buy a home for his bride, and cries aloud, "There is 
no God, and I am all alone !" 

■'There is a God," the Old One says, "whose laws 
unchanging no man may hope to disobey. Upon his 
Pipe you blew your one desire, forced your own will 
upon the ordained way. Man has his will, man pays 
the penalty," lolan is about to strike the Old One 
with his staff, but stays his arm as the Old One says, 
"Strike, if you think her soul demands revenge." 

The elves, who have ruined the mortal they wished 
to befriend, are grief-stricken. The Old One, at their 
petition, now plays the Song of Autumn. The season 
changes. The leaves are falling from the trees, and 
lolan breathes his last in peace beside the body of his 
beloved. As the curtain falls, the elves arc chanting 
"Nothing is wasted, nothing is wasted." 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 299 

POIA 

Opera in three acts by Arthur Finley Nevin. 

Text by Hartley. 

T^HIS opera will go down in history as the first 
'■' American work of its kind to be produced in a 
foreign opera house. It was given at the Royal Opera 
House, Berlin, in 1910. It was first performed in con- 
cert form in Pittsburg, January 16, 1907. 

The book is based on legends of Indian origin, and 
the action takes place among the Blackfeet Indians at 
a time prior to the coming of the white race. 

Poia, whose name means scar- face, is so called be- 
cause of the birthmark which disfigures him. He loves 
the daughter of a chief, Natoya, but she scorns his 
ugliness, preferring Sumatsi, a warrior who is bold 
and handsome and wicked. To banish the unwelcome 
wooer, she tells Poia that unless he can free himself 
from his disfigurement she can never wed him. Nena- 
hu, the medicine woman, tells Poia that only the Sun 
God can remove this blemish, and then warns Sumatsi 
that only evil can result from a union with Natoya. 
But Natoya gladly accepts the gifts of Sumatsi, and 
neither heeds the warning. Poia goes forth to seek 
the Sun God. 

When the curtain rises on the second act, Poia, in 
the midst of a forest, prays to the Sun God, but 
Natosi scorns him, even as the maiden had. Just then 
Poia rescues the morning star, Episua, who has been 
attacked by eagles, and this heroic deed avails him 
where prayer has failed. Poia sinks into a profound 
sleep, and Mola, Nepu, Moku, and Stuyi, the four 
seasons, dance about him at the god's behest, giving 



300 THE OPERA 

him manly beauty in place of ugliness. Natosi invites 
the young warrior to dwell with him among the gods, 
but Poia thinks of Natoya, and refuses. Then is the 
god enraged ; but again he softens when Poia has told 
his story, and in the end he sends Poia back to his 
people with a rich robe for Natoya. And Episua is 
his guiding star, while Wolf Trail (the Milky 
Way) teaches him a song which shall command the 
love of woman, and presents to him a magic whistle. 

In the last act we return with Poia to the camp of 
the Blackfeet. Poia, whose scar symboHzed his mys- 
tic attributes as the scapegoat of his people, finds that 
troubles have come upon them in his absence, and that 
the people blame Natoya for driving him away. The 
infatuation of the maiden for Sumatsi has, indeed, 
grown deeper in Poia's absence, but though an impas- 
sioned love-scene is revealed between the two, the 
moment Natoya hears Poia's magic song in the dis- 
tance, she loves the singer and hates Sumatsi. The 
young warrior is welcomed as the savior of his tribe. 
Natoya alone seems cold. She fears him because of 
the present he had brought from the Sun God, for 
the robe can be worn only by a pure woman, and 
Natoya is no longer pure. Sumatsi, mad with jeal- 
ousy, tries to kill Poia, but Natoya intervenes, and 
receives the fatal blow. A ray from the Sun God 
slays the wicked Sumatsi, then Poia, raising the dying 
maiden in his arms, declares that her sacrifice has made 
her pure. Pie invests her with the sacred robe, and 
together they are wafted to the realms of the Sun 
God. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 301 

THE POSTILION OF LONGJUMEAU 

Comic Opera in three acts by Adolphe Charles Adam, 
Text by Leuven and Brunswick. 

/^^HAPELOU, Stage-driver at Longjumeau, is about 
^^ to celebrate his marriage with the young hostess 
of the post-house, Madeleine. The wedding has taken 
place and the young bride is led away by her friends, 
according to an old custom, while her bridegroom is 
held back by his comrades, who compel him to sing. 
He begins the romance of a young postilion, who had 
the luck to be carried away by a princess, having 
touched her heart by his beautiful playing on the cor- 
net. Chapelou has such a fine voice that the superin- 
tendent of the Grand Opera at Paris, the Marquis de 
Courcy, who hears him, is enchanted, and being in 
search of a good tenor, succeeds in winning over 
Chapelou, who consents to leave his young wife in 
order to follow the Marquis's call to glory and fortune. 
He begs his friend Bijou, a wheelwright, to console 
Madeleine by telling her that he will soon return to 
her. While Madeleine calls for him in tenderest ac- 
cents, he drives away with his protectors, and Bijou 
delivers his message, determined to try his fortune in 
a similar way. The desperate Madeleine resolves to fly 
from the unhappy spot, where everything recalls to her 
her faithless husband. 

In the second act we find Madeleine under the as- 
sumed name of Mme. de Latour. She has inherited a 
fortune from an old aunt, and makes her appearance in 
Paris, as a rich and noble lady, with the intention of 
punishing her husband, whom she, however, still 
loves. During these six: years that have passed since 



3oa THE OPERA 

their wedding day, Chapelou has won his laurels under 
the name of St. Phar, and is now the first tenor of 
the Grand Opera and everybody's spoiled favorite. 
Bijou is with him as leader of the chorus, and is called 
Alcindor. We presently witness a comical rehearsal in 
which the principal singers are determined to do as 
badly as possible. They all seem hoarse and, instead 
of singing, produce the most lamentable sounds. The 
Marquis de Courcy is desperate, having promised this 
representation to Mme. de Latour, at whose country- 
seat near Fontainebleau he is at present staying. As 
soon as St. Phar hears the name of this lady his hoarse- 
ness is gone and all sing their best. We gather from 
this scene that Mme. de Latour has succeeded in en- 
thralling St, Phar ; he has an interview with her, and 
won by his protestations of love, she consents to marry 
him. 

St. Phar, not wishing to commit bigamy, begs his 
friend Bijou to perform the marriage ceremony in a 
priest's garb, but Mme. de Latour locks him in her 
room along with Bourdon, the second leader of the 
chorus, while a real priest unites the pair for the sec- 
ond time, 

St. Phar enters the room in high spirits, when his 
companions, beside themselves with fear, tell him 
that he has coTiimittcd bigamy. While they are in 
mortal terror of being hanged. Mme, de Latour enters 
in her former shape as Madeleine, blows out the can- 
dle, and torments St. Phar. assuming now the voice of 
Mme, de Latour, now that of Madeleine. After she 
has sent her fickle husband into an abyss of unhappi- 
ness and fear, the Marquis de Courcy, who had him- 
self hoped to we<l the charming widow, appears with 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 303 

the police to imprison the luckless St. Phar, who al- 
ready considers himself as good as hanged j and in 
imagination sees his first wife Madeleine rejoicing 
over his pimishment. But he has been made to suffer 
enough, and at the last moment Madeleine explains 
everything, and Chapelou obtains her pardon. 

Both in text and- music this opera, which is decidedly 
French in all respects, deserves to be ranked among th© 
best works of its class thus far produced. 



LE PROPHfeTE 
(The Prophet) 

Opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. 
Text by Scribe. 

T^HE scene is laid in Holland at the time of the 
-■' wars with the Anabaptists. Fides, mother of the 
hero, John of Leyden, keeps an inn near Dordrecht. 
She has just betrothed a young peasant girl to her son, 
but Bertha is a vassal of the Count of Oberthal and 
dares not marry without his permission. 

As they set about getting his consent to the marriage, 
three Anabaptists, Jonas, Mathisen, and Zacharias, 
appear, exciting the people with their speeches and 
false promises. While they are preaching, Oberthal 
enters, but smitten with Bertha's charms he refuses 
his consent to her marriage and carries her off, with 
Fides as companion. 

In the second act we find John waiting for his 
bride. As she delays, the Anabaptists try to win him 
for their cause, they prophesy him a crown, but as 
yet he is not ambitious, and life with Bertha looks 



304 THE OPERA 

sweeter to him than the greatest honors. As the night 
comes on, Bertha rushes in to seek refuge from her 
pursuer, from whom she has fled. Hardly has she 
hidden herself when Oberthal enters to claim her. 
John refuses his assistance, but when Oberthal threat- 
ens to kill his mother he gives up Bertha to the Count, 
while his mother, whose life he has saved at such a 
price, asks God's benediction on his head. Then she 
retires for the night, and the Anabaptists appear once 
more, again trying to win John over. This time they 
succeed. Without a farewell to his sleeping mother, 
John follows the Anabaptists, to be henceforth their 
leader, their Prophet-King. 

In the third act we see the Anabaptists' camp; their 
soldiers have captured a party of noblemen, who are 
to pay ransom. They all make merry and the famous 
ballet on the ice forms part of the amusements. In 
the background we see Miinster, now in the hands of 
Count OberthaKs father, who refuses to surrender it 
to the enemy. They resolve to storm it, a resolution 
which is heard by young Oberthal, who has come dis- 
guised to the Anabaptists' camp in order to save his 
father and the town. 

But as a light is struck he is recognized and is about 
:g oe killed, when John hears from him that Bertha 
has escaped. She sprang out of the window to save 
her honor, and falling into the stream, was saved. 
When John learns this, he bids the soldiers spare Ober- 
thal's life that he may be judged by Bertha herself. 

John has already endured great pangs of conscience 
at seeing his party so wild and bloodthirsty. He re- 
fuses to go farther, but, hearing that an army of sol- 
diers has broken out of Miinster to destroy the Ana- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 305 

baptists, he rallies. Praying fervently to Gk)d for help 
and victory, inspiration comes over him and is com- 
municated to all his adherents, so that they resolve to 
storm Miinster. They succeed, and in the fourth act 
we are in the midst of this town, where we find Fides, 
who, knowing that her son has turned Anabaptist, 
though not aware of his being their Prophet, is receiv- 
ing alms to save his soul by masses. She meets Bertha, 
disguised in a pilgrim's garb. Both vehemently curse 
the Prophet, when this latter appears to be crowned 
in state. 

His mother recognizes him, but he disowns her, de- 
claring her mad, and by strength of will he compels 
the poor mother to renounce him. Fides, in order to 
save his life, avows that she was mistaken and she 
is led to prison. 

In the last act we find the three Anabaptists, Jonas, 
Mathisen, and Zacharias, together. The Emperor is 
near the gates of Miinster, and they resolve to deliver 
their Prophet into his hands in order to save their lives. 

Fides has been brought into a dungeon, where John 
visits her to ask her pardon and to save her. She 
curses him, but his repentance moves her so that she 
pardons him when he promises to leave his party. At 
this moment Bertha enters. She has sworn to kill the 
false Prophet, and she comes to the dungeon to set fire 
to the gunpowder hidden beneath it. Fides detains 
her, but when she recognizes that her bridegroom and 
the Prophet are one and the same person, she wildly de- 
nounces him for his bloody deeds and stabs herself in 
his presence. Then John decides to die also, and after 
the soldiers have led his mother away, he himself sets 
fire to the vault. 



^o6 THE OPERA 

Then he appears at the coronation banquet, where he 
knows that he is to be taken prisoner. When Oberthal, 
the bishop, and all his treacherous friends are assem- 
bled, he bids two of his faithful soldiers close the gates 
and flee. This done, the castle is blown into the air 
with all its inhabitants. At the last moment Fides 
rushes in to share her son's fate, and all are thus buried 
under the ruins. 

I PURITANI 
(The Puritans) 

Opera in three acts by Vinccnzo Bellini 
Text by Pepoli. 

T^HE action takes place in England during the Great 
'■' Rebellion. Lord Walton, who has promised the 
hand of his daughter Elvira to Ricardo, is in command 
of Plymouth for the Puritans. But the girl loves 
Arturo, a young noble who has adhered to the house 
of Stuart. Giorgio, brother of Lord Walton, brings 
his niece the news that her father has agreed that she 
shall marry Arturo, who is now admitted to the for- 
tress. Within the walls is Henrietta Maria, widow of 
Charles I, who is under sentence of death. Arturo 
assists the august prisoner to escape, disguised as El- 
vira. Believing that she has been deserted by her 
lover, Elvira becomes insane. Meantime Arturo, pro- 
scribed by Parliament, is in grave danger. Giorgio 
then appeals to the generosity of Ricardo, who agrees 
that he will induce the Parliamentary leaders to par- 
don Arturo, provided he is taken unarmed. Arturo 
returns to the fortress to explain his disappearance 
to Elvira, and is captured. The news of his pardon 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 307 

arrives in time, however, and the young people are 
restored to happiness. 

The music of this opera is considered by good judges 
of this form of composition to belong with Bellini's 
best achievements. It is rich in varied melodies, and 
the chorus of Puritans, with which the first act con- 
cludes, is full of strength and animation. 

DAS RHEINGOLD 
(The Rhinegold) 

First Division of the Music-Drama "Der Ring des Nibel- 
ungen" (The Ring of the Nibelungs) by Richard Wagner. 

A S first conceived, Wagner's great "festival play in 
'^^ three days'' was a trilogy based on the mythology 
of the Norse and German peoples. As was usual with 
him, Wagner took a poet's liberties with the old leg- 
ends. "Das Rheingold," written as the result of an 
afterthought, to serve as a "fore-evening," made of 
the group a tetralogy — "Das Rheingold," "Die Wal- 
kiire," "Siegfried," and "Gotterdammerung" — which 
stands as the most perfect embodiment of Wagner's 
art-theories, and, with the exception of "Parsifal," his 
last work. 

The first scene is laid in the very depths of the Rhine, 
where we see three nymphs frolicking in the water. 
They are the guardians of the Rhinegold, which glim- 
mers on a rock. 

Alberich, a Nibelung, highly charmed by their grace 
and beauty, tries to make love to each one of them 
alternately. As he is an ugly dwarf, they at first allure 
and then deride him, gliding away as soon as he comes 
near, and laughing at him. Discovering their mockery 



3o8 THE OPERA 

at last, he swears vengeance. * He sees the Rhinegold 
shining brightly, and asks the nymphs what it means. 
They tell him of its wonderful qualities, which would 
render the owner all-powerful if he should form it into 
a ring and forswear love. 

Alberich, listening attentively, all at once climbs the 
rock, and before the frightened nymphs can cry for 
help, has grasped the treasure and disappeared. Dark- 
ness comes on ; the scene changes into an open district 
on mountain heights. In the background we see a 
grand castle, which the rising sun illumines. Wotan, 
the father of the gods, and Fricka, his wife, are slum- 
bering on the ground. Awakening, their eyes fall on 
the castle for the first time. It is Valhalla, the palace 
which the giants have built for them at Wotan's bid- 
ding. As a reward for their services they are to ob- 
tain Freya, the goddess of youth; but already Wotan 
repents of his promise and forms plans with his wife to 
save her lovely sister. The giants Fafner and Fasolt 
enter to claim their reward. While they negotiate, 
Loge, the god of fire, comes up, relates the history of 
Alberich's theft of the Rhinegold, and tells Wotan of 
the gold's power. Wotan decides to rob the dwarf, 
promising the treasure to the giants, who consent to 
accept it in Freya's stead. But they distrust the gods 
and take Freya with them as a pledge. As soon as she 
disappears the beautiful gods seem old and gray and 
wrinkled, for the golden apples to which Freya attends 
and of which the gods partake daily to be forever 
youthful, wither as soon as she is gone. Then Wotan, 
without any further delay, starts for Nibelheim with 
Loge, justifying his intention by saying that the gold 
is stolen property. They disappear in a cleft and we 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 309 

find ourselves in a subterranean cavern, the abode of 
the Nibelungs. 

Alberich has forced his brother Mime to forge a 
Tamhelm for him, which renders its wearer invisible. 
Mime vainly tries to keep it for himself ; Alberich, the 
possessor of the all-powerful ring which he himself 
formed, takes it by force and making himself invisible 
strikes Mime with a whip until the latter is half dead. 
Wotan and Loge, hearing his complaints, promise to 
help him. Alberich, coming forth again, is greatly 
flattered by Wotan and dexterously led on to show his 
might. He first changes himself into an enormous 
snake and then into a toad. Wotan quickly puts his 
foot on it, while Loge seizes the Tarnhelm. Alberich, 
becoming suddenly visible in his real shape, is bound 
and led away captive. The gods return to the moun- 
tain heights of the second scene, where Alberich is 
compelled to part with all his treasures, which are 
brought by the dwarfs. He is even obliged to leave 
the ring, which Wotan intends to keep for himself. 
With a dreadful curse upon the possessor of the ring 
Alberich flees. 

When the giants reappear with Freya, the treasures 
are heaped before her; they are to cover her entirely, 
so it is decided, and not before will she be free. When 
all the gold has been piled up, and even the Tarnhelm 
thrown on the hoard, Fasolt still sees Freya's eye shine 
through it, and at last Wotan, who is most unwilling to 
part with the ring, is induced to do so by Erda, god- 
dess of the earth, who appears to him and warns him. 
Now the pledge is kept and Freya is released. The 
giants quarrel over the possession of the ring and Faf- 
ner kills Fasolt, thereby fulfilling Alberich*s curse. 



3IO THE OPERA 

With lightened hearts the gods cross the rainbow 
bridge and enter Valhalla, while the songs and wail- 
ings of the Rhine nymphs are heard, imploring the 
restitution of their lost treasure. 



RIGOLETTO 



Opera in three acts by Giuseppe VerdL 
Text by Piave from Victor Hugo's drama ''Le roi s'amuse. 



n 



'T'HE Duke of Mantua, a wild and debauched youth, 
^ covets every girl or woman he sees, and is as- 
sisted in his vile purposes by his jester, Rigoletto, an 
ugly, humpbacked man. We meet him first helping 
the Duke to seduce the wife of Count Ceprano, and 
afterward the wife of Count Monterone. Both hus- 
bands curse the vile Rigoletto and swear to be avenged. 
Monterone especially, appearing like a ghost in the 
midst of a festival, hurls such a fearful curse at them 
that Rigoletto shudders. 

This bad man has one tender point, it is his blind 
love for his beautiful daughter Gilda, whom he brings 
up carefully, keeping her hidden from the world and 
shielding her from all wickedness. But the cunning 
Duke discovers her and gains her love under the as- 
sumed name of a student named Gualtier Malde. 

Gilda is finally carried off by Ceprano and two other 
courtiers, aided by her own father, who holds the lad- 
der believing that Count Ceprano's wife is to be the 
victim. A mask blinds Rigoletto and he discovers, 
too late, by Gilda's cries that he has been duped. Gilda 
is brought to the Duke's palace. Rigoletto appears in 
the midst of the courtiers to claim Gilda, and then they 
hear that she, whom they believed to be his mistress, is 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 311 

his daughter, for whose honor he is willing to sacrifice 
everything. Gilda enters and, though she sees that she 
has been deceived, she implores her father to pardon 
the Duke, whom she still loves. But Rigoletto vows 
vengeance, and engages Sparafucile to stab the Duke. 
Sparafucile decoys him into his inn, where his sister 
Maddalena awaits him. She too is enamored of the 
Duke, who makes love to her as to all young females, 
and she entreats her brother to have mercy on him. 
Sparafucile declares that he will wait until midnight, 
and will spare him if another victim should turn up 
before then. Meanwhile Rigoletto persuades his 
daughter to fiy from the Duke's pursuit, but before he 
takes her away he wants to show her lover's fickleness 
in order to cure her of her love. 

She comes to the inn in masculine attire, and, hear- 
ing the discourse between Sparafucile and his sister, 
resolves to save her lover. She enters the inn and is 
instantly put to death, placed in a sack, and given to 
Rigoletto, who proceeds to the river to dispose of the 
corpse. At this instant he hears the voice of the 
Duke, who passes by, singing a frivolous tune. Terri- 
fied, Rigoletto opens the sack and recognizes his daugh- 
ter, who is yet able to tell him that she gave her life 
for that of her seducer, and then expires. With an aw- 
ful cry the unhappy father sinks upon the corpse. 
Coimt Monterone's curse has been fulfilled. 



THE OPERA 



ROBERT LE DIABLB 
(Robert the Devil) 



DOBERT, Duke of Normandy, has a friend of 
■*■ »■ gloomy exterior named Bertram, with whom he 
travels but to whose evil influence he owes much trou- 
ble and sorrow. Without knowing it himself, Robert 
is the son of this erring knight, who is an inhabitant 
of hell. During his wanderings on earth he seduced 
Bertha, daugliter of the Duke of Normandy, whose off- 
spring Robert is. This youth is very wild and has, 
therefore, been banished from his country. Arriving 
in Sicily, Isabella, the King's daughter, and he fall 
mutually in love. 

In the first act we find Robert in Palermo surround- 
ed by other knights, to whom a young countryman of 
his, Raimbaut, tells the story of "Robert de Diable" 
and his fiendish father; warning everybody against 
them. Robert, giving his name, is about to deliver the 
unhappy Raimbaut to the hangman, when the peasant 
is saved by liis bride Alice, Robert's foster-sister. She 
has come to Palermo by order of Robert's deceased 
mother, wlio sends her last will to her son in case he 
should change his bad habits and prove himself worthy. 
Robert, feeling that he is not likely to do this, begs 
Alice to keep it for him. He confides in the innocent 
maiden, and she promises to reason with Isabella, 
whom Robert has irritated by his jealousy, and who 
has banished him from her presence. 

As a recompense for her service Alice asks Robert's 
permission to marry Raimbaut, Seeing Robert's friend. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 313 

Bertram, she recognizes the latter's likeness to Satan, 
whom she saw in a picture, and instinctively shrinks 
from him. When she leaves her master, Bertram in- 
duces his friend to try his fortune with the dice and he 
loses all. 

In the second act we are introduced into the palace 
of Isabella, who laments Robert's inconstancy. Alice 
enters, bringing Robert's letter, and he instantly fol- 
lows to crave his mistress's pardon. She presents him 
with a new suit of armor, and he consents to meet the 
Prince of Granada in mortal combat. But Bertram 
lures him away by deceiving him with a phantom. 
Robert vainly seeks the Prince in the forest, and the 
Prince of Granada is in his absence victorious in the 
tournament and obtains Isabella's hand. 

The third act opens with a view of the rocks of St. 
Irene, where Alice hopes to be united with Raimbaut. 
The peasant expects his bride, but meets Bertram in- 
stead, who makes him forget Alice by giving him gold 
and dangerous advice. Raimbaut goes away to spend 
the money, while Bertram descends to the evil spirits 
in the deep. When Alice comes Raimbaut is gone, and 
she hears the demons calling for Bertram. Bertram 
extracts a promise from her not to betray the dread- 
ful secret of the cavern. She clings to the Saviour's 
cross for protection, and is about to be destroyed by 
Bertram, when Robert approaches, to whom she de- 
cides to reveal all. But Bertram's renewed threats at 
last oblige her to leave them. 

Bertram now profits by Robert's rage and despair at 
the loss of his bride, his wealth, and his honor to draw 
him on to entire destruction. He tells Robert that his 
rival used magic arts, and suggests that he should try 



hcauliful of the nuns, succeeds cum ... 
the cypress-branch, a tahsnian, by \vh 
act he enters Isabella's apartment uns 
his bride out of her magic sleep to c 
overcome by her fears and her appeal 
breaks the talisman and is seized b)i 
ened soldiers; but Bertram appears 
under his protection. 

The fifth act opens with a chorus 
which is followed by a prayer for mei 
cealed in the vestibule of the cathedn 
contrition. But Bertram is with him 
earth being short, he confides to Ro 
his birth and appeals to him as his f; 

He almost succeeds, when Alice 
ing the news that the Prince of C 
Isabella's hand, being tmable to pas 
the church. Bertram urges Rober 
hemently to become one with him, s 
bella is likewise lost to him, who h 
laws of the Church, when in the 1; 
produces his mother's will, in wh 
against Bertram, entreating him to 
at last his good angel is victoriou 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 315 

his purpose by means of his musical effects. The music 
itself, though often strong and brilliant, is felt to lack 
depth and earnestness; but, notwithstanding this, the 
opera is recognized as having a distinct place in the 
history of musical development, where it marks a stage 
of progress from the bondage of conventionality. 

LE ROI L'A DIT 
(The King Has Said It) 

Comic Opera in three acts by Clement P. L. Delibes. 

Text by Gondinet 

npHE Marquis de Moncontour has long wished to be 
^ presented to the King Louis XIV, and as he has 
been fortunate enough to catch the escaped paroquet 
of Mme. de Maintenon, he is at last to have his wish 
accomplished. By way of preparation for his audience 
he tries to learn the latest mode of bowing, his own 
being somewhat antiquated, and the Marquise and her 
four lovely daughters and even Javotte, the nice little 
ladies' maid, assist him. After many failures the old 
gentleman succeeds in making his bow to his own 
satisfaction, and he is put into a litter and borne off, 
followed by his people's benedictions. When they are 
gone Benoit, a young peasant, comes to see Javotte, 
who is his sweetheart. He wishes to enter the Mar- 
quis's service. Javotte thinks him too awkward, but 
she promises to intercede in his favor with Miton, a 
dancing-master, who enters just as Benoit disappears. 
He has instructed the graceful Javotte in all the arts 
and graces of the noble world, and when he rehearses 
the steps and all the nice little tricks of his art with 
her, he is so delighted with his pupil that he pronounces 



3i6 THE OPERA 

her manners worthy of a princess ; but when Javotte 
tells him that she loves a peasant he is filled with dis- 
gust and orders her away. 

Miton's real pupils, the four lovely daughters of the 
Marquis, now enter, and while the lesson goes on 
Miton hands a billet-doux from some lover to each 
of them. The two elder, Agathe and Chimene, are just 
in the act of reading theirs when they hear a serenade 
outside, and shortly afterward the two lovers are 
standing in the room, having taken their way through 
the window. The Marquis Flarembel and his friend, 
the Marquis de la Bluette, are just making a most ar- 
dent declaration of love when Mme. la Marquise en- 
ters to present to her elder daughters the two bride- 
grooms she has chosen for them. The young men 
hide behind the ample dresses of the young ladies, and 
all begin to sing with great zeal, Miton beating the 
measure, so that some time elapses before the Marquise 
is able to state her errand. Of course her words excite 
great terror, the girls flying to the other side of the 
room with their lovers and receiving the two elderly 
suitors, Baron de Merlussac and Gautru, a rich old 
financier, with great coolness and a refusal of their 
costly gifts. When the suitors are gore the two young 
strangers are detected, and the angry mother decides at 
once to send her daughters to a convent, from which 
they shall only issue on their wedding day. 

When they have departed in a most crestfallen con- 
dition, the old Marquis returns from his audience with 
the King and relates its astounding results. His Maj- 
esty had been so peremptory in his questioning about 
the Marquis's son and heir that the Marquis, losing his 
presence of mind, promised to present Jiis son at court 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 317 

on the King's demand. The only question now is 
where to find a son to adopt, as the Marquis has only 
four daughters. Miton, the ever useful, at once pre- 
sents Benoit to the parents, engaging himself to drill 
the peasant into a nice cavalier in ten lessons. Benoit 
takes readily to his new position; he is fitted out at 
once, and when the merchants come, offering their best 
in cloth and finery, he treats them with an insolence 
worthy of the proudest seigneur. He even turns from 
his sweetheart Javotte. 

In the second act Benoit, dressed like the finest cava- 
lier, gives a masked ball in his father's gardens. Half 
Versailles is invited, but he has made the mistake of 
inviting many people who have long been dead. Those 
who do appear seem to him to be very insipid, and 
wanting some friends with whom he can enjoy himself, 
the useful Miton presents the Marquises de la Bluette 
and de Flarembel, who are delighted to make the ac- 
quaintance of their sweethearts' brother. 

Benoit hears from them that he has four charming 
sisters who have been sent to a convent, and he at once 
promises to assist his new friends. Meanwhile Javotte 
appears in the mask of an Oriental queen and Benoit 
makes love to her, but he is very much stupefied when 
she takes oflF her mask and he recognizes Javotte. She 
laughingly turns away from him, when the good-for- 
nothing youth's new parents appear to reproach him 
with his levity. But Benoit, nothing daunted, rushes 
away, telling the Marquis that he intends to visit his 
sisters in the convent. Miton tries in vain to recall 
him. Then the two old suitors of Agathe and Chimene 
appear to complain that their deceased wife and grand- 
mother were invited, and while the Marquis explains 



31 8 THE OPERA 

his son's mistake the four daughters rush in, having 
been liberated by their lovers and their unknown 
brother, whom they greet with a fondness very shock- 
ing to the old Marchioness. The elderly suitors with- 
draw, swearing to take vengeance on the inopportune 
brother. 

In the last act Benoit appears in his father's house 
in a somewhat dilapidated state. He has spent the 
night among gay companions and met Gautru and 
Merlussac successively, who have both fought him 
and believe they have killed him, Benoit having feigned 
to be dead. 

When the old Marquis enters he is very much 
astonished at receiving two letters of condolence from 
his daughters* suitors. Miton appears in mourning, 
explaining that Mme. de Maintenon's visit being ex- 
pected they must all wear dark colors, as she prefers 
these. Meanwhile Benoit has had an interview with 
Javotte, in which he declares his love to be undimin- 
ished, and he at once asks his father to give him 
Javotte as his wife, threatening to reveal the Mar- 
quis's deceit to the King if his request is not granted. 
In the dilemma help comes in the persons of the two 
young Marquises, who present their King's condo- 
lences to old Moncontour. This gentleman hears to his 
great relief that his son is supposed to have fallen in 
a duel and he is disposed of. Nobody is happier than 
Javotte, who now claims Benoit for her own, while the 
Marquis, who receives a duke's title from the King in 
compensation for his loss, gladly gives his two elder 
daughters to their young and noble lovers. 

The girls, well aware that they owe their happiness 
to their adopted brother, are glad to provide him with 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 319 

ample means for his marriage with Javotte, and the 
affair ends to everybody's satisfaction. The opera 
throughout is replete with musical delights that have 
called forth the highest praise. 

ROM^O ET JULIETTE 

Opera in five acts by Charles Frangois Gounod. 
Text by Barbier and Carre. 

HP HE first act takes place in the palace of the Capu- 
"*■ lets, where a masked ball is being held. Romeo, a 
Montague, meets the daughter of his unwilling host, 
and they love each other at sight. Tybalt, Capulet's 
nephew, recognizes in Romeo the enemy of his race, 
and drags Juliette away, but is prevented from at- 
tacking Romeo by Capulet himself. In the second 
act we have the familiar garden scene, the lovers 
breathing their sighs in sweetest music. In the third 
act the lovers are united by Friar Laurent, but Romeo, 
involved in combat with Tybalt, kills his adversary. 
The fourth act reveals the parting of the lovers, for 
Romeo has been banished from the city. Juliette's 
father insists on her marriage to the Count of Paris, 
and the good friar contrives to aid her to escape. In 
the last act, seeing Juliette apparently dead, Romeo 
takes poison. When Juliette, whose death has only 
been simulated, awakes to find her beloved dying, she 
resolves to join him, and with her death the opera 
ends. 



320 THE OPERA 

SALOME 

Opera in one act by Richard Strauss. 

CTRAUSS'S text of this opera is adapted from 
*^ the drama with the same title by Oscar Wilde. 
Though the principal characters are Biblical, the story 
is not, for Salome is represented as loving John the 
Baptist, and as demanding his "head on a charger*' 
only after the prophet has scorned her wiles and se- 
ductions. Its one great spectacular feature is the 
"Dance of the Seven Veils," by means of which Sa- 
lome obtains from Herod his promise to grant what- 
ever request she may prefer. Following this, Salome 
receives the bloody head from the hands of the execu- 
tioner, and rapturously kisses the dead lips. Even 
Herod is unable to support this spectacle, and by his 
orders the soldiers crush the woman to death with 
their shields. 

"Salome" was first performed in Dresden, December 
5, 1905. Two years later it was produced by Hein- 
rich C'onried for his own benefit at the Metropolitan 
Opera House, New York. It was gorgeously mount- 
ed, but the impression created was so unfavorable that 
the owners of the opera house gave orders to Con- 
ried that it should not be repeated. In 1908-09 it was 
presented at the Manhattan Opera House, New York. 
The impresario was not, however, permitted to give 
the work in Boston. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 321 

SAMSON ET DALILA 
(Samson and Delilah) 

Opera in three acts by Charles Camille Saint-Saens. 

Text by Lemaire. 

nr HE libretto is Biblical ; the scene is laid in Gaza, in 
-'• Palestine, 1 150 years before Christ. In the first act 
the IsraeUtes, groaning under the yoke of the PhiHs- 
tines, pray to God for deliverance. They are derided 
and insulted by Abi Melech, satrap of Gaza. Samson, 
unable longer to endure the blasphemy hurled by the 
heathen against the God of Israel, rises up in mighty 
wrath, and so inspires his brethren that they suddenly 
take up arms, and precipitating themselves on their 
unsuspecting oppressors, first slay Abi Melech and then 
rout the whole army of the PhiHstines. 

The high priest of the heathen god Dagon, finding 
his friend slain, vows to be avenged upon the Israehtes, 
but he is deserted by all his companions, who flee 
before Samson's wrath. 

In the next scene the Israelites return victorious and 
are greeted with triumphant songs and offerings of 
flowers. Even the Philistine Delilah, the rose of Shar- 
on, receives them with her maidens, and pays homage 
to the hero Samson. Delilah had enthralled him once 
before, and again her beauty causes him very nearly to 
forget his people and his duty; but an aged Israelite 
implores him not to listen any more to the arts and 
wiles of the enchantress. 

In the second act Delilah has an interview with the 
high priest, whom she promises to avenge her people 
by winning Samson's love once more. She proudly 
refuses the reward which the high priest offers her. 



332 THE OPERA 

for it is her bitter hatred against the hero, who once 
loved and then forsook her, which prompts her to ruin 
him and to force from him by every means in her 
power the secret of his strength. 

When the high priest has left her, Samson comes 
down the steep mountain path, drawn to Delilah's 
house gainst his will. She receives him with the 
greatest tenderness, and once more her beauty and her 
tears assert their power over him, so that he sinks at 
her feet and falters out his love for her. In vain she 
tries to lure his secret from him. At last she leaves 
with words of contempt and enters the house. This 
proves his undoing. Goaded beyond earthly power, he 
rushes after her and seals his fate. After a while 
the Philistines surround the house and Delilah herself 
delivers her unfortunate lover, whom she has deprived 
of his strength by cutting off his locks, to his foes. 

In the third act we find Samson in prison. Bereft of 
his eyesight, he has to turn the heavy mill. From the 
outside the wailings and reproaches of his Israelite 
brethren are heard, who have again been subjugated by 
their foes. Bitterly repentant, Samson implores God 
to take his life as the price of his people's deliverance. 

In the last scene he is led away to Dagon's temple, 
there to be present at the festival of the Philistines, 
celebrated with great pomp in honor of their victory. 

On the conclusion, after an exquisite ballet. Delilah 
presents a golden cup to the blind hero, and jeers at 
him for having been fool enough to believe in her love 
for him. the enemy of her country. Samson maintains 
silence, but when they order him to sacrifice at Dagon's 
shrine he whispers to the child who is guiding him to 
lead him to the pillars of the temple. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 323 

This being done, he loudly invokes the God of Is- 
rael, seizes the pillars, and tears them down with a 
mighty crash, burying the Philistines under the ruins of 

the temple. 

"Samson et Dalila," in which Saint-Saens is seen at 
his best, has oftener been given in concert than in opera 
form. It was first heard in this country in oratorio 
form. For many years the work was unsuccessful, 
but has finally taken its place among standard operas. 



SIEGFRIED 

Second day of the Nibelungen Ring by Richard Wagner. 
Musical Drama in three acts. 

nPHE first act represents a part of the forest where 
'■' Fafner guards the Rhinegold and where Sieglinde 
has found refuge. We find her son Siegfried — to 
whom, when she was dying, she gave birth — in the 
rocky cave of Mime the Nibelung (brother of Alber- 
ich), who has brought up the child as his own, know- 
ing that he is destined to slay Fafner and to gain the 
ring, which he covets for himself. Siegfried, the brave 
and innocent boy, instinctively shrinks from this 
father, who is so ugly, so mean and vulgar, while he 
has a deep longing for his dead mother, whom he never 
knew. He gives vent to these feelings in impatient 
questions about her. The dwarf answers unwillingly 
and gives him the broken pieces of the old sword 
Nothung (needful), which his mother left as the only 
precious remembrance of Siegfried's father. Sieg- 
fried asks Mime to forge the fragments afresh, while 
he rushes away into the woods. 
During his absence Wotan comes to Mime in the 



uu THE OPERA 

guise of a wanderer. Mime, though he knows him not, 
fears him and would fain drive him away. Finally he 
puts three questions to his guest. The first is the name 
of the race which lives in earth's deepest depths, the 
second the name of those who live on earth's back, 
and the third that of those who live above the clouds. 
Of course Wotan answers them all, redeeming his head 
and shelter thereby ; but now it is his turn to put three 
questions. He first asks what race it is that Wotan 
loves most, though he dealt hardly with them, and 
Mime answers rightly that they are the Walsungs, 
whose son Siegfried is; then Wotan asks after the 
sword which is to make Siegfried victorious. Mime 
joyously names **Nothung," but when Wotan asks 
him who is to unite the pieces he is in great embarrass- 
ment, for he remembers his task and perceives too late 
what question he ought to have asked. Wotan leaves 
him, telling him that only that man can forge it who 
never knew fear. Siegfried, finding the sword still in 
fragments when he returns, melts these in fire, and 
easily forges them together to Mime's great awe, for 
he sees now that this boy is the one whom the stranger 
has meant. 

In the second act we see the opening of Fafner's 
cavern, where Alberich keeps watch for the dragon's 
slayer, so long predicted. Wotan, approaching, warns 
him that Albcrich's brother Mime has brought up the 
boy who is to slay Fafner in the hope of gaining Al- 
bcrich's ring, the wondrous qualities of which are 
unknown to Siegfried. Wotan awakes Fafner, the 
dragon, telling him that his slayer is coming. 

Mime, who has led Siegfried to this part of the for- 
est under the pretext of teaching him fear, approaches 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 325 

now, and Siegfried, eager for combat, kills the dread- 
ful worm. Accidentally tasting the blood, he all at 
once understands the language of the birds. They 
tell him to seek for the Tamhelm and for the ring, 
which he finds in the cavern. Meanwhile, the brothers, 
Alberich and Mime, quarrel over the treasure which 
they hope to gain. When Siegfried returns with ring 
and helmet, he is again warned by the voice of a wood- 
bird not to trust in Mime. Having tasted the dragon's 
blood, Siegfried is enabled to probe Mime's inner- 
most thoughts, and so he learns that Mime means to 
poison him in order to obtain the treasure. He then 
kills the traitor with a single stroke. Stretching him- 
self under the linden-tree to repose after that day's 
hard work, he again hears the voice of the wood-bird, 
which tells him of a glorious bride sleeping on a rock 
surrounded by fire; and flying before him, the bird 
shows Siegfried the way to the spot. 

In the third act we find Wotan once more awaken- 
ing Erda, to seek her counsel as to how best to avert 
the doom which he sees coming, but she is less wise 
than he, and so he decides to let fate have its course. 
When he sees Siegfried coming he, for the last time, 
tries to oppose him by barring the way to Briinnhilde, 
but the sword Nothung splits the god's spear. Seeing 
that his power avails him nothing, he retires to Val- 
halla, there to await the "Twilight of the Gods." 

Siegfried plunges through the fii'e, awakes the Val- 
kyr, and after a long resistance wins the proud virgin. 



326 THE OPERA 

LA SONNAMBULA 
(The Sleep- Walker) 

Opera in two acts by Vincenzo BellinL 
Text by KomatiL 

npHE scene of action is a village in Switzerland, 
'■' where the rich farmer Elvino has married a poor 
orphan, Amina. The ceremony has taken place at the 
magistrate's, and Elvino is about to obtain the sanction 
of the Church to his union, when the owner of the 
castle. Count Rodolfo, who fled from home in his boy^ 
hood, returns most unexpectedly and, at once making 
love to Amina, excites the bridegroom's jealousy. Lisa, 
the young owner of a little inn, who wants Elvino for 
herself and disdains the devotion of Alessio, a simple 
peasant, tries to avenge herself on her happy rival. 
Lisa is a coquette and flirts with the Count, whom the 
judge recognizes. While she yet prates with him, the 
door opens and Amina enters, walking in her sleep 
and calling for Elvino. Lisa conceals herself, but for- 
gets her handkerchief. The Count, seeing Amina's 
condition and awed by her purity, quits the room, 
where Amina lies down, always in deep sleep. Just 
then the people, having heard of the Count's arrival, 
come to greet him and find Amina instead. At the 
same moment Elvino, summoned by Lisa, rushes in, 
and finding his bride in the Count's room, turns away 
from her in disdain, snatching his wedding ring from 
her finger in his wrath, and utterly disbelieving Ami- 
na's protestations of innocence and the Count's assur- 
ances. Lisa succeeds in attracting Elvino's notice and 
he promises to marry her. 
The Count once more tries to persuade the angry 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 327 

bridegroom of his bride's innocence, but without result, 
when Teresa, Amina's foster-mother, shows Lisa's 
handkerchief, which was found in the Count's room. 
Lisa reddens, and Elvino knows not whom he shall 
believe, when all of a sudden Amina is seen emerging 
from a window of the mill, walking in a trance and 
calling for her bridegroom in most touching accents. 

All are convinced of her innocence, when they see 
her in this state of somnambulism, in which she crosses 
a very narrow bridge without falling. 

Elvino himself replaces the wedding ring on her 
finger, and she awakes from her trance in his arms. 
Everybody is happy at the turn which things have 
taken; Elvino asks Amina's forgiveness and leaves 
Lisa to her own bitter reflections. 

TANNHAUSER 
Romantic Opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. 

T 1 rAGNER took his subject from an old legend, 
^^ which tells of a minstrel called Tannhauser 
(probably identical with Heinrich von Ofterdingen), 
who won all prizes by his beautiful songs and all hearts 
by his noble bearing. So the palm is allotted to him at 
the yearly "Tournament of Minstrels" on the Wart- 
burg, and his reward is to be the hand of Elisabeth, 
niece of the Landgrave of Thuringia, whom he loves. 
But instead of behaving sensibly, this erring knight 
suddenly disappears nobody knows where, leaving his 
bride in sorrow and anguish. He falls into the hands 
of Venus, who holds court in the Horselberg near 
Eisenach, and Tannhauser, at the opening of the first 
scene, has already passed a whole year with her. 



328 THE OPERA 

At length Tannhauser has grown tired of sensual 
love and pleasure, and, notwithstanding Venus's al- 
lurements, he leaves her, vowing never to return to the 
goddess, but to expiate his sins by a holy life. He 
returns to the charming vale behind the Wartburg, 
where he hears again the singing of the birds, the 
shepherds playing on the flute, and the pious songs of 
the pilgrims on their way to Rome. Full of repent- 
ance, he kneels down and prays, when suddenly the 
Landgrave appears with S9me minstrels, among them 
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Tannhauser's best friend. 
They greet their long-lost companion, who, however, 
cannot tell where he has been all the time, and as Wol- 
fram reminds him of Elisabeth, Tannhauser returns 
with the party to the Wartburg. 

It is just the anniversary of the Tournament of 
Minstrels, and in the second act we find Elisabeth with 
Tannhauser, who craves her pardon and is warmly 
welcomed by her. The high prize for the best song 
is again to be Elisabeth's hand, and Tannhauser re- 
solves to win her once more. The Landgrave chooses 
"love" as the subject whose nature is to be explained 
by the minstrels. Every one is called by name, and 
Wolfram von Eschenbach begins, praising love as a 
well, deep and pure, a source of the highest and most 
sacred feeling. Others follow : Walter von der Vogel- 
weide praises the virtue of love, every minstrel cele- 
brates spiritual love alone. 

But Tannhauser, who has been in Venus's fetters, 
sings of another love, warmer and more passionate, 
but sensual. And when the others remonstrate, he 
loudly praises Venus, the goddess of heathen love. All 
stand aghast; they recognize now where he has been 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 329 

so long ; he is about to be put to death, when Elisabeth 
prays for him. She loves him dearly and hopes to 
save his soul from eternal perdition. Tannhauser is 
to join a party of pilgrims on their way to Rome, there 
to crave for the Pope's pardon. 

In the third act we see the pilgrims return from their 
journey. Elisabeth anxiously expects her lover, but 
he is not among them. Fervently she prays to the 
Holy Virgin ; but not that a faithful lover may be given 
back to her — rather that he may be pardoned and his 
immortal soul saved. Wolfram is beside her; he loves 
the maiden, but he has no thought for himself ; he only 
feels for her whose life he sees ebbing swiftly away, 
and for his unhappy friend. 

Presently, when Elisabeth is gone, Tannhauser comes 
up in pilgrim's garb. He has passed a hard journey, 
full of sacrifices and castigation, and all in vain, for the 
Pope has rejected him. He has been told in hard 
words that he is forever damned and will as little get 
deliverance from his grievous sin as the stick in his 
hand will ever bear green leaves afresh. 

Full of despair, Tannhauser is returning to seek 
Venus, whose siren songs already fall alluringly on 
his ear. Wolfram entreats him to fly, and when Tann- 
hauser fails to listen he utters Elisabeth's name. At 
this moment a procession descends from the Wartburg 
chanting a funeral song over an open bier. Elisabeth 
lies on it dead, and Tannhauser sinks on his knee be- 
side her, crying, "Holy Elisabeth, pray for me." Then 
Venus disappears and all at once the withered stick 
begins to bud and blossom, and Tannhauser, pardoned, 
expires at the side of his beloved. 

"Tannhauser" was represented at the Dresden Thea- 



330 THE OPERA 

ter, in June, 1890, according to Wagner's changes of ar- 
rangement, done by him in Paris, 1861, for the Grand 
Opera, by order of Napoleon III. This arrangement 
the composer acknowledged as the only correct one. 

These alterations were limited to the first scene in 
the mysterious abode of Venus, and Wagner's motives 
for the changes become clearly apparent when it is re- 
membered that the simple form of "Tannhauser" was 
composed in the years 1843 ^"d 1845, ^^ 2i"d near 
Dresden, at a time when there were neither means nor 
taste in Germany for such high-flown scenes as those 
which excited Wagner's brain. Afterward success 
rendered Wagner bolder, and he endowed the person 
of Venus with more dramatic power and thereby threw 
a vivid light on the great attraction she exercises on 
Tannhauser. The decorations are by far richer, and 
a ballet of sirens and fauns was added, a concession 
which Wagner had to make to the Parisian taste. 
Venus's part, now sung by the first prima donnas, has 
considerably gained by the alterations, and the first 
scene is far more interesting than before, but it is to be 
regretted that the Tournament of Minstrels has been 
shortened and particularly the fine song of Walter 
von der Vogelweide omitted by Wagner. All else is 
as of old, as indeed Elisabeth's part needed nothing to 
add to her purity and loveliness, which stand out now 
in even bolder relief against the beautiful but sensual 
part of Venus. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 331 

THAIS 

Opera in four acts by Jules Massenet 
Text by Gallet 

pERHAPS the most popular of all Massenet's lyric 
^ dramas, certainly the best known outside of 
France itself, is this, which has the advantage of an 
excellent libretto, founded upon a novel of great ap- 
peal. The scene is laid in Egypt in the stormy period 
when Christianity was battling for supremacy with 
paganism. Athanael and other monks, presided over 
by Palemon, have retired to the desert for a life of 
meditation and prayer, and the rising curtain reveals 
these holy men at their evening meal — all but Athanael, 
who has been in Alexandria for the brethren. Pale- 
mon has seen Athanael in a vision, and as he tells the 
monks that their brother is returning, the weary 
traveler enters. After an exchange of greetings, he 
tells the monks that Alexandria is given over to sin, 
and ruled by Thais, an infamous priestess of Venus, 
whom he had known before his conversion. Palemon 
sagely advises the brothers to forget the world in 
seeking out their own salvation. 

Night falls, and in a dream Athanael sees Thais 
enacting the role of Aphrodite in the theater at Alex- 
andria. The mob applauds the lovely priestess, who 
redoubles her efforts to charm. With the coming of 
the dawn the vision fades and Athanael wakes. Im- 
pressed by what he has seen, he declares that he will 
return to Alexandria and make of Thais a Christian 
convert. Vainly do Palemon and the monks seek to 
dissuade him. In the next scene we find Athanael in 
Alexandria, a guest in the palace of his old friend 



332 THE OPERA 

Nicias, who causes him to be newly robed and per- 
fumed, but laughs at his idea of converting Thais. 
Then comes the priestess herself, surrounded by her 
admirers, and when she asks who Athanael is, and 
learns his mission, she too is amused, and is preparing 
to enact for Athanael's edification the scene which he 
had beheld in his dreams. Filled with loathing, Atha- 
nael rushes from the palace. 

In the second act Thais, worn with pleasure and 
unhappy, kneels before the shrine of Venus, beseech- 
ing the goddess to grant her eternal beauty. Athanael 
comes to preach the faith of the Redeemer; but though 
Thais listens with interest, and denies herself to 
Nicias, the latest of her lovers, she is unconvinced. 
Athanael tells her that he will await her coming with 
the rising of the sun, and retires, meaning to spend 
the night in prayer before her door. Then, after an 
interlude by the orchestra, the scene shifts, and Atha- 
nael is shown reclining on the portico of Thais's house. 
He is aroused by Thais herself, who tells him that she 
has prayed, has wept, and having seen the nothingness 
of pleasure, has come in obedience to his commands. 
Athanael takes from Thai's a statuette of Cupid, the 
one memento she has brought with her, dashes it to 
the ground, and bids her follow him to a convent 
presided over by Albine, a daughter of the Caesars, 
who has embraced the religious life. Before they can 
depart, Nicias, who has just won a fortune at the gam- 
ing-table, brings in a party of friends to celebrate the 
occasion, and all are incensed at the thought of los- 
ing their favorite priestess. They attack Athanael, 
but their attention is distracted by flames issuing from 
the palace of Thais, who had fired it before leaving. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 3^3 

and then Nicias adds to the confusion by flinging 
handfuls of gold into the street. In the scramble for 
money which follows, Athanael and his convert escape. 

In the third act we are shown an oasis in the desert, 
the abode of the Christian sisterhood of whom Albine 
is the head. Almost at her journey's end, Thais faints 
from fatigue. AtKanael kisses her feet, wounded as 
they are, then brings her water and fruit. The nuns 
enter, chanting their prayers, and when they have wel- 
comed Thais she bids farewell to Athanael, whom she 
hopes to meet again in heaven. Then the stage picture 
changes, again showing the monastery in the Thebaid. 
Athanael has touched neither food nor drink for twen- 
ty days. As Palemon expresses it, "The triumph he 
has won over hell has broken him, body and soul." 
Athanael confesses to Palemon that he is haunted per- 
petually by thoughts of Thais, to which Palemon can 
only reply that he had warned Athanael not to med- 
dle with the affairs of the world. 

Again the vision of Thais appears to Athanael, but 
this time she seems to be dying, surrounded by the 
mournful sisterhood of the oasis. Then Athanael 
rushes into the night, crying as he goes that a single 
caress from Thais is more than all the delights of 
heaven. 

In the fourth act Athanael, arriving at Albine's con- 
vent, is welcomed by the nuns, who assume that he is 
there to give the final benediction to Thais, and they 
describe her as a saint. The former priestess of 
Venus in her last moments feels the beatitudes of the 
Christian heaven, and is oblivious to the passionate 
appeal of Athanael. She dies, and with a terrible out- 
burst of grief Athanael falls to his knees beside her. 



334 THE OPERA 

TIEPLAND 

Opera in three acts, with a prologue, by Eugen d' Albert 

Text by Lothar. 

T T NTIL this opera was produced in New York, the 
^^ composer was known in America only as a 
pianist. Earlier works for the stage, while not un- 
successful, had their vogue chiefly in Germany, but 
"Tiefland," first performed in Berlin in 1908, was 
immediately claimed for the world at large. The book 
is based on the Catalonian play by Angel Guimera 
known as "Terra Baixa." 

In the prologue Pedro is tending his sheep in the 
highlands of the Pyrenees, and when Sebastiano, his 
master, promises him wealth and a pretty bride in the 
person of Marta, a damsel from the plains, he is de- 
lighted. 

In the first act the scene shifts to the lowlands, 
where preparations have been made for the wedding. 
Pedro, dazed by the change in his fortunes, and deeply 
in love with Marta, fails to note the jeering attitude 
of the villagers, and not until after the ceremony has 
taken place does he learn the truth. Marta, who has 
felt for him only contempt, experiences a complete 
revulsion of feeling at his profound depression when 
she has told her stor>'. Daughter of a strolling player, 
she has aroused the admiration of Sebastiano, who 
bought her from her father by giving him a mill which 
would afford an easy living. This relationship, a com- 
mon scandal in the village, had continued until Sebas- 
tiano found an opportunity of marrying a wealthy 
heiress. Then, as a means of freeing himself, Sebas- 
tiano had determined to provide a husband for Marta, 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 335 

and Pedro had been the unsuspecting victim. En- 
raged against his wife, Pedro becomes calmer as he 
reaHzes that she too has been the victim of Sebas- 
tiano, and he determines to revenge her as well as him- 
self. 

Sebastiano, who has never meant to relinquish his 
claims on Marta, comes to her home as boldly as ever, 
and though Marta repulses him, and calls on Pedro to 
protect her, the peasants who have accompanied Se- 
bastiano eject the husband from the house, then 
leave Marta and Sebastiano together. Marta faints 
away, but recovers herself a moment later as Tom- 
maso enters to say to Sebastiano that he has already 
denounced him to the family of his prospective bride. 

In the third act Sebastiano, again alone with Marta, 
continues to force his unwelcome attentions on her, 
when Pedro returns. "Man to man!'* cries Pedro, 
in whose hand a knife is gleaming. "I have no 
weapon," shouts Sebastiano in reply, as he seeks to 
escape from the house. "Then I need none," is Pe- 
dro's rejoinder, and flinging away his knife, he closes 
in on his former master, and after a desperate struggle 
succeeds in strangling him. 

Meantime the noise of combat has again brought 
the villagers about the cottage, and they are clamoring 
for admittance. Having satisfied himself that Sebas- 
tiano is beyond earthly help, Pedro throws open the 
door, boldly proclaims his deed, then clasping his wife 
in his arms, leads her through the group of awestruck 
peasants. The lowlands shall know them no more, for 
in the pure surroundings of their mountain home they 
are to begin life anew. 



THE OPERA 
LA TOSCA 



'T'HE scene is laid in Rome. The first act takes 
•'■ place in the church of Sant' Andrea alia Valle. 
Cesare Aiigelotti, a state prisoner, has escaped from 
jail and is hiding in a private chapel, of which his 
sister, the Lady Attavanti, has secretly sent him the 
key. When he has disappeared from view the painter 
Mario Cavaradossi enters the church. He is engaged 
in painting a picture to represent Mary Magdalen. The 
canvas stands on a high easel, and the sacristan, who is 
prowling about, recognizes with scandalized amaze- 
ment and indignation that the sacred picture resem- 
bles a beautiful lady who comes to pray daily in the 
church. The old man, after having left a basket with 
food for the painter, retires grumbling at this sacrilege. 
When he is gone, Angelotti conies forward, and the 
painter, recognizing in the prisoner the consul of the 
late Roman Republic who is at the same time an inti- 
mate friend of his own, puts himself at his disposal; 
but, hearing the voice of his fiancee Tosca, who de- 
mands entrance, he begs the prisoner, a victim of the 
vile Scarpia, to retire into the chapel, giving him tlie 
refreshments which the sacristan has left. 

At last he opens tiie church tloor, and Tosca, a fa- 
mous singer, enters looking suspiciously around her, for 
she is of a jealous disposition. She begs her lover to 
wait for her at t!ie stage door in the evening. He as- 
sents and tries to get rid of her, when her suspicions 
are reawakened by the sight of the picture, which she 
sees is a portrait of the I-ady Attavanti. With diffi- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 337 

culty he succeeds in persuading her of his undying 
love, and at last induces her to depart ; he then enters 
the chapel and urges Angelotti to fly while the way is 
clear. The chapel opens into a deserted garden from 
whence a foot-path leads to the painter's villa, in which 
there is a well now nearly dry. Into this well the 
painter advises Angelotti to descend if there is any 
danger of pursuit, as halfway down there is an opening 
leading to a secret cave, where his friend will be in 
perfect safety. 

The Lady Attavanti had left a woman's clothes for 
her brother to wear as a disguise. He takes them up 
and turns to go when the report of a cannon tells him 
that his flight from the fortress is discovered. With 
sudden resolution Cavaradossi decides to accompany 
the fugitive to help him to escape from his terrible 
enemy. 

In the next scene acolytes, scholars, and singers en- 
ter the church tumultuously. They have heard that 
Napoleon has been defeated, and all arc shouting and 
laughing when Scarpia, the chief of the poHce, enters 
in search of the fugitive. Turning to the sacristan he 
demands to be shown the chapel of the Attavanti, which 
to the amazement of the sacristan is found open. It 
is empty, but Scarpia finds a fan, on which he per- 
ceives the arms of the Attavanti, then he sees the pic- 
ture and hears that Tosca*s lover Cavaradossi has 
painted it. The basket with food is also found empty. 
During the discussion that ensues Tosca enters, much 
astonished to find Scarpia here instead of her lover. 
The chief of the police awakens her jealousy by show- 
ing her the fan, which he pretends to have found on the 
scaffolding. Tosca, recognizing the arms of the At- 



338 THE OPERA 

tavanti, is goaded almost to madness by the wily 
Scarpia. When she departs three spies arc ordei-ed to 
follow her. 

The second act takes place in Scarpia's luxurious 
apartments in an upper story of the Famese palace. 
Scarpia is expecting Tosca, who is to sing this evening 
at the Queen's festival. He has decided to take her 
for his mistress and to put her lover to death, as well 
as Angelotti, as soon as he has got hold of both. Spo- 
letta, a police agent, informs his chief that he followed 
Tosca to a solitary villa, which she left again, alone, 
very soon after she had entered it. 

Forcing his way into the villa, he had found only 
the painter Cavaradossi, whom he had at once arrested 
and brought to the palace. Cavaradossi, who is now 
brought in, denies resolutely any knowledge of the 
escaped prisoner. When Tosca enters he embraces 
her, whispering into her ear not to betray anything 
she has witnessed in his villa. 

Meanwhile, Scarpia has called for Roberto, the exe- 
cutioner, and Mario is led into the torture-chamber that 
adjoins Scarpia's apartment. Scarpia vainly questions 
Tosca about her visit to the villa. She assures him 
that she found her lover alone. Then she hears her 
lover's groans, which are growing more fearful, the 
torture under Scarpia's directions being applied with 
more and more violence. In the intervals Mario, how- 
ever, entreats Tosca to be silent, but at last she can 
bear no more and gasps, "In the well in the garden." 
Scarpia at once gives a signal to stop the torture and 
Mario is carried in fainting and covered with blood. 
When he comes to himself he hears Scarpia say to 
Spoletta, "In the well in the garden," and thereby 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 339 

finds out that Tosca has betrayed the unfortunate 
prisoner. While he turns from her in bitter grief and 
indignation, Sciarrone, a gendarme, enters and an- 
nounces, in the greatest consternation, that the news of 
victory has proved false, Napoleon having beaten the 
Italian army at Marengo. Mario exults in the defeat 
of his enemy, but the latter turns to him with an evil 
smile and orders the gendarmes to take him away to 
his death. Tosca tries to follow him, but Scarpia de- 
tains her. Remaining alone with him she offers him 
all her treasures and at last kneels to him imploring 
him to save her lover. But the villain only shows her 
the scaffold which is being erected on the square below, 
swearing that he will save her lover only on condition 
that she will be his. Tosca turns shuddering from 
him. Spoletta now enters to announce that Angelotti, 
being found and taken, has killed himself, and that 
Mario is ready for death. 

Now at last Tosca yields, Scarpia promising to liber- 
ate her lover at the price of her honor. He suggests, 
however, that Mario must be supposed dead, and that 
a farce must be acted, in which the prisoner is to pre- 
tend to fall dead while only blank cartridges will be 
used for firing. Tosca begs to be allowed to warn him 
herself, and Scarpia consents, and orders Spoletta to 
accompany her to the prison at four o'clock in the 
morning, after having given the spy private instruc- 
tion to have Mario really shot after all. Spoletta re- 
tires, and Scarpia approaches Tosca to claim his re- 
ward. But she stops him, asking for a safe conduct 
for herself and her lover. While Scarpia is writing 
it Tosca seizes a knife from the table, while leaning 
against it, and hides the weapon behind her back. 



340 THE OPERA 

Scarpia seals the passport ; then, opening his arms, he 
says: "Now, Tosca, mine at last." But he staggers 
back with an awful scream. Tosca has suddenly 
plunged the knife deep into his breast. Before he 
can call for help, death overtakes him, and Tosca, after 
having taken the passport from the clenched fist of the 
dead man, turns to fly. 

The third act takes place on the platform of the 
castle Sant' Angelo. The jailer informs Mario Cavara- 
dossi that he may ask for a last favor, having only one 
hour to live, and the captive begs to be allowed to send 
a last letter of farewell to his fiancee. The jailer as- 
sents, and Mario sits down to write, but soon the 
sweet recollections of the past overcome him. Tosca 
finds him in bitter tears, which soon give way to joy 
when she shows him her passport, granting a free pass 
to Tosca and to the chevalier who will accompany her. 

When she tells him of the deadly deed she has done 
to procure it, he kisses the hands that were stained 
with blood for his sake. Then she informs him of the 
farce which is to be acted, and begs him to fall quite 
naturally after the first shot, and to remain motionless 
until she shall call him. After a while the jailer re- 
minds them that the hour is over. The soldiers march 
up, and Tosca places herself to the left of the guard's 
room in order to face her lover. The latter refuses to 
have his eyes bandaged, and bravely stands erect before 
the soldiers. The officer lowers his sword, a report 
follows, and Tosca. seeing her lover fall, sends him a 
kiss. When one of the sergeants is about to give the 
coup de grace to the fallen man, Spoletta prevents him, 
and covers Mario with a cloak. Tosca remains quiet 
until the last soldier has descended the steps of the 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 341 

staircase, then she runs to her lover, calling him to rise. 
As he does not move, she bends down to him and tears 
the cloak off, but, with a terrible cry, she staggers back. 
Her lover is dead! She bewails him in the wildest 
grief, when suddenly she hears the voice of Sciarrone, 
and knows that Scarpia's murder has been discovered ! 
A crowd rushes up the stairs with Spoletta at their 
head. He is about to precipitate himself upon Tosca, 
but she runs to the parapet and throws herself into 
space, with the cry: *'Scarpia, may God judge between 
us!" 

LA TRAVIATA 
(The Wandering One) 

Opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. 
Text taken from the French by Piave. 

T^HE original of the libretto is the celebrated novel 
•*• *'La dame aux cameHas" by the younger Dumas. 

The scene is laid in and near Paris. Alfred Germont 
is passionately in love with Violetta Valery, one of 
the most frivolous beauties in Paris. She is pleased 
with his sincere passion, anything Hke which she has 
never hitherto known, and openly telling him who she 
is, she warns him herself ; but he loves her all the more, 
and as she returns his passion, she abandons her gay 
Hfe and follows him into the country, where they live 
very happily for some months. 

Annina, Violetta's maid, dropping a hint to Alfred 
that her mistress is about to sell her house and carriage 
in town in order to avoid expenses, he departs for the 
capital to prevent this. 

During his absence Violetta receives a visit from 
Alfred's father, who tries to show her that she has 



342 THE OPERA 

destroyed not only his family's but his son's happiness 
by suffering Alfred to unite himself to one so dis- 
honored. He succeeds in convincing her, and, broken- 
hearted, she determines to sacrifice herself and leave 
Alfred secretly. Ignoring the possible reason for this 
inexplicable action, Alfred is full of wrath and resolves 
to take vengeance. He finds Violetta in the house of 
a former friend, Flora Bervoix, who is in a position 
similar to that of Violetta. The latter, having no other 
resources, and feeling herself at death's door (a state 
of health suggested in the first act by an attack of suf- 
focation), has returned to her former life. Alfred 
insults her publicly. The result is a duel between her 
present adorer, Baron Dauphal, and Alfred. 

From this time on Violetta declines rapidly, and in 
the last act, which takes place in her sleeping-room, we 
find her dying. Hearing that Alfred has been victo- 
rious in the duel and receiving a letter from his father, 
who is now willing to pardon and to accept her as his 
daughter-in-law, she revives to some extent; and Al- 
fred, who at last hears of her sacrifice, returns to her, 
but only to afford a last glimpse of happiness to the 
unfortunate woman, who expires, a modem Magdalen, 
full of repentance and striving tenderly to console her 
lover and his now equally desolate father. 

This opera, which at first fared poorly at the hands 
of the public, is now classed among the works that 
have most contributed to Verdi's reputation. Little 
can be said for the text of "La Traviata," but its faults 
are redeemed bv the work of the master, whose music 
abounds in the finest melody and in special features of 
admirable quality. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 343 

TRISTAN UND ISOLDE 

Lyric Drama in three acts by Richard Wagner. 

'"PHE first act represents the deck of a ship, where 
we find the two principal persons, Tristan and 
Isolde, together. Tristan, a Cornish hero, has gone 
over to Ireland to woo the Princess for his old uncle, 
King Marke. Isolde, however, loves Tristan and has 
loved him from the time when he was cast sick and 
dying on the coast of Ireland and was rescued and 
nursed by her, though he was her enemy. But Tris- 
tan, having sworn faith to his uncle, never looks at 
her ; and she, full of wrath that he should woo her for 
another instead of for himself, attempts to poison her- 
self and him. But Brangane, her faithful attendant, 
secretly changes the poisoned draught for a love-po- 
tion, so that they are inevitably joined in passionate 
love. Only when the ship gets ashore, its deck already 
covered with knights and sailors who come to greet 
their King's bride, does Brangane confess her fraud; 
and Isolde, hearing that she is to live, faints in her at- 
tendant's arms. 

In the second act Isolde has been wedded to Marke, 
but the love-potion has worked well, and she has secret 
interviews at night with Tristan, whose sense of honor 
is deadened by the fatal draught. Brangane keeps 
watch for the lovers, but King Marke's jealous friend 
Melot betrays them, and they are found out by the good 
old King, who returns earlier than he had intended 
from a hunt. 

Tristan is profoundly touched by the grief of the 
King, whose sadness at losing faith in his most noble 



344 THE OPERA 

warrior is greater than his wrath against the betrayer 
o£ honor. Tristan, unable to defend himself, turns to 
Isolde, asking her to follow him into the desert, but 
Melot opposes him, and they fight, Tristan falling back 
deadly wounded into his faithful servant Kurvenal's 
arms. 

The tliird act represents Tristan's home in Brittany, 
whither Kurvenal has carried his wounded master in 
order to nurse him. Isolde, skilled in the art of heal- 
ing wounds, has been sent for, but they look in vain 
for the ship which is to bring her. 

When at last it comes in sight, Tristan, who awakes 
from a long swoon, sends Kurvenal away, to receive 
his mistress, and as they both delay their coming, his 
impatient longing gets the better of him. Forgetting 
his wound, he rises from his couch, tearing away the 
bandages, and so Isolde is only just in time to catch 
him in her arms, where he expires with her name on 
his lips. While she bewails her loss, another ship is 
announced by the shepherd's horn. King Marke ar- 
rives, prepared to pardon all and to unite the lovers. 
Kurvenal, seeing Melot advance, mistakes them for 
foes and, running his sword through Melot's breast, 
sinks, himself deadly wounded, at his master's feet. 
King Marke, to whom Brangane has confessed her part 
in the whole matter, vainly laments his friend Tristan, 
while Isolde, waking from her swoon and seeing her 
lover dead, pours fortli rapturous words of devotion 
and, broken-hearted, sinks down dead at his side. 

In "Tristan und Isolde" Wagner first fully embodied 
his theories regarding the drama and the orchestra in 
their artistic relations. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 345 

IL TROVATORE 
(The Troubadour) 

Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. 
Text by Cammerano. 

np WO men of entirely different station and character 
-*• woo Leonora, Countess of Sergaste. The one is 
Count Luna, the other a minstrel named Manrico, who 
is believed to be the son of Azucena, a gypsy. 

Azucena has, in accordance with gypsy law, vowed 
bloody revenge on Count Luna, because his father, be- 
lieving her mother to be a sorceress and to have be- 
witched one of his children, had the old woman burned. 
To punish the father for this cruelty Azucena took 
away his other child, which was vainly sought for. 
This story is told in the first scene, where we find the 
Count's servants waiting for him, while he stands sigh- 
ing beneath his sweetheart's window. But Leonora's 
heart is already captivated by Manrico's sweet songs 
and his valor in tournament. She suddenly hears his 
voice, and in the darkness mistakes the Count for her 
lover, who, however, comes up just in time to claim 
her. The Count is full of rage, and there follows a 
duel in which Manrico is wounded, but, though it is in 
his power to kill his enemy, he spares his life, without, 
however, being able to account for the impulse. 

In the second act Azucena, nursing Manrico, tells 
him of her mother's dreadful fate and her last cry for 
revenge, and confesses to having stolen the old Count's 
son, with the intention of burning him. But in her 
despair and confusion, she says, she threw her own 
child into the flames, and the Count's son lived. Man- 
rico is terrified, but Azucena retracts her words and 



346 THE OPERA 

regains his confidence, so that he believes her tale to 
have been but an outburst of remorse and folly. 

Meanwhile he hears that Leonora, to whom he was 
reported as dead, is about to take the veil, and he rushes 
away to save her. Count Luna arrives before the con- 
vent with the same purpose. But just as he seizes his 
prey, Manrico comes up and liberates her with the aid 
of his companions, while the Count curses them. 
Leonora becomes Manrico's wife, but her happiness 
is shortlived. 

In the third act the Count's soldiers succeed in cap- 
turing Azucena, in whom they recognize the burned 
gypsy's daughter. She denies all knowledge of the 
Count's lost brother, and as the Count hears that his 
successful rival is her son, she is sentenced to be 
burned. Ruiz, Manrico's friend, brings the news to 
him. Manrico tries to rescue her, but is seized too, and 
condemned to die by the axe. 

In the fourth act Leonora offers herself to the Count 
as the price of freedom for the captives, but, deter- 
mined to be true to her lover, she takes poison. She 
hastens to him, announcing his deliverance. Too late 
he sees how dearly she has paid for it, when, after 
sweet assurance of love and fidelity, she sinks dead 
at his feet. 

The Count, coming up and seeing himself deceived, 
orders Manrico to be put to death instantly. He is led 
away, and only after the execution does Azucena in- 
form the Count that his murdered rival was Luna's 
own long-sought brother. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 347 



THE VAMPIRE 

Romantic Opera in two acts by Heinrich Marschner. 

Text by Wohlbriick. 

nPHE subject is taken from Lord Byron's tale of the 

-*• same name. The scene is laid in Scotland in the 
seventeenth century and illustrates the old Scottish 
legend of the vampire, a phantom monster which can 
only exist by sucking the heart-blood of sleeping 
mortals. 

Lord Ruthven is such a vampire. He victimizes 
young maidens in particular. His soul is sold to Satan, 
but the demons have granted him a respite of a year, 
on condition of his bringing them three brides young 
and pure. His first victim is lanthe, daughter of Sir 
John Berkley. 5he loves the monster and together 
they disappear into a cavern. Her father assembles 
followers and goes in search of her. They hear dread- 
ful wailings, followed by mocking laughter proceeding 
from the ill-fated vampire, and entering they find 
lanthe lifeless. The despairing father stabs Ruthven, 
who wounded to death knows that he cannot survive 
but by drawing life from the rays of the moon, which 
shines on the mountains. Unable to move, he is saved 
by Edgar Aubrey, a relative of the Laird of Davenant, 
who accidentally comes to the spot. 

Lord Ruthven, after having received a promise of 
secrecy from Aubrey, tells him who he is and implores 
him to carry him to the hills as the last favor to a d)ring 
man. 

Aubrey complies with the vampire's request and then 
hastily flies from the spot. Ruthven revives and fol- 



348 THE OPERA 

lows him, in order to win the love of Malvina, daughter 
of the Laird of Davenant and Aubrey's betrothed. 

His respite now waxing short, he tries at the same 
time to gain the affections of Emma, daughter of John 
Perth, the steward. 

Malvina meanwhile greets her beloved Aubrey, who 
has returned after a long absence. Both are full of 
joy, when Malvina's father enters to announce to his 
daughter her future husband, whom he has chosen in 
the person of the Earl of Marsden. Great is Malvi- 
na*s sorrow, and she now for the first time dares to 
tell her father that her heart has already spoken, and 
to present Aubrey to him. The laird's pride, however, 
does not allow him to retract his word, and when the 
Earl of Marsden arrives, he presents him to his daugh- 
ter. In the supposed earl Aubrey at once recognizes 
Lord Ruthven, but the villain stoutly denies his iden- 
tity, giving Lord Ruthven out as a brother, who has 
been traveling for a long time. Aubrey, however, rec- 
ognizes the vampire by a scar on his hand, but he is 
bound to secrecy by his oath, and so Ruthven triumphs, 
having the Laird of Davenant's promise that he will 
be betrothed before midnight to Malvina, as he de- 
clares that he is bound to depart for Madrid the fol- 
lowing morning as ambassador. 

In the second act all are drinking and frolicking on 
the green, where the bridal is to take place. 

Emma awaits her lover George Dibdin, who is in 
Davenant's service. While she sings the ghastly ro- 
mance of the vampire, Lord Ruthven approaches, and 
by his sweet flattery and promise to help the lovers, he 
easily causes the simple maiden to grant him a kiss 
in token of her gratitude. In giving this kiss she is 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 349 

forfeited to the Evil One. George, who has seen all, 
is very jealous, though Emma tells him that the future 
son-in-law of the Laird of Davenant will make him his 
steward. 

Meanwhile Aubrey vainly tries to make Ruthven 
renounce Malvina. Ruthven threatens that Aubrey 
himself will be condemned to be a vampire if he 
breaks his oath, and depicts in glowing colors the tor- 
ments of a spirit so cursed. While Aubrey hesitates 
as to what he shall do, Ruthven once more approaches 
Emma and succeeds in winning her consent to follow 
him to his den, where he murders her. 

In the last scene Malvina, unable any longer to resist 
her father's will, has consented to the hateful mar- 
riage. Ruthven has kept away rather long and comes 
very late to his wedding. Aubrey implores them to 
wait for the coming day, but in vain. Then he forgets 
his own danger and only sees that of his beloved, and 
when Ruthven is leading the bride to the altar, he loud- 
ly proclaims Ruthven to be a vampire. At this moment 
a thunder-peal is heard and a flash of lightning de- 
stroys Ruthven, whose time of respite has ended at 
midnight. The old laird, witnessing Heaven's pun- 
ishment, repents his error and gladly gives Malvina to 
her lover, while all praise the Almighty, who has turned 
evil into good. 



350 THE OPERA 

DIE VERKAUFTE BRAUT 
(The Bartered Bride) 

Comic Opera in three acts by Friedrich Smetana. 

Text by Sabina. 

nPHE scene is laid in a village in Bohemia. It is 
■*• spring kirmess, and everybody is gay. Only 
Mary, the daughter of the rich peasant Kruschina, 
carries a heavy heart within her ; for the day has come 
on which the unknown bridegroom, chosen by her 
parents, will claim her hand. She loves Hans, known 
to her as a poor servant, who has come to her village 
lately, and who is in reality her bridegroom's half- 
brother. He consoles her, beseeching her to cheer up 
and be faithful to him, and then tells her that he comes 
of wealthy people. He lost his mother early, and his 
father wedded a second wife, who so estranged his 
heart from the poor boy that he had to gain his daily 
bread abroad. She deeply sympathizes with him, 
without guessing his real name. 

Meanwhile Mary's parents approach with the match- 
maker Kezul, a personage common in Bohemia, who 
has already won Kruschina's consent to his daughter's 
marriage with Wenzel, son of the rich farmer Micha 
by a second marriage. Mary's mother insisting that 
her child's will is to be consulted before all, the father 
consents to let her see the bridegroom before she de- 
cides. Kezul, though angry at this unlooked-for ob- 
stacle, excuses the bridegroom's absence volubly, and 
sings his praise loudly, at the same time touching upon 
the elder son's absence, and hinting that he may prob- 
ably be dead. When Mary steps in, Kezul woos her 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 351 

in due form, but is at once repulsed by her. The 
young girl owns to having given her heart to the hum- 
ble servant Hans, in whom nobody has yet recognized 
Micha's son. Father Kruschina angrily asserts his 
promise to Kezul, cursing Wenzel's timidity, which 
hindered him from making his proposal in person. 
Kezul, however, resolves to talk Hans over to reason. 

We find him, in the second act, singing and highly 
praising the god of love. Afterward the would-be 
bridegroom Wenzel finds himself face to face with 
Mary, whom he does not know. When he tells her of 
his purpose, timidly and stammeringly, she asks him 
if he is not ashamed to woo a girl who loves another 
man, and who does not love him in the least. She at 
last so frightens the lad that he promises to look out 
for another bride, if his mother permits it. Mary flirts 
with him, until he swears never to claim Kruschina*s 
daughter. 

Meanwhile Kezul does his best to convert Hans. 
He promises to provide for him another bride, much 
richer than Mary, but Hans refuses. He offers him 
money, first one hundred, then two hundred, then 
three hundred florins. Hans, looking incredulous, 
asks, "For whom are you wooing my bride?" "For 
Micha's son,'* the matchmaker replies. "Well," says 
Hans, "if you promise me that Micha's son, and no 
other, shall have her, I will sign the contract; and I 
further stipulate that Micha himself shall have no 
right to reclaim the money later ; he is the one to bear 
the whole cost of the bargain." Kezul gladly con- 
sents and departs to bring the witnesses, before whom 
Hans once more renounces his bride in favor of 
Micha's son. He coolly takes the money, at which they 



352 THE OPERA 

turn from him in disgust, and signs his name Hans 
Ehrentraut at the ifoot of the document. 

The third act opens with a performance by tight- 
rope dancers. Wenzel, who has been quite despondent 
about his promised bride, is enraptured by their skill. 
He especially admires the Spanish dancer Esmeralda, 
who bewitches him so entirely that he woos her. The 
director of the band, being in want of a dancing-bear, 
is not loath to take advantage of the lad's foolishness. 
He engages him as a dancer, and easily overcomes 
Wenzel's scruples by promising him Esmeralda's hand. 
Just when they are putting him in bear's skin his par- 
ents appear on the scene with the marriage contract. To 
their great dismay, he refuses to sign it, and when 
pressed he runs away. 

Meanwhile Mary has heard of her lover's fickleness, 
which she would fain disbelieve ; but alas ! Kezul shows 
her the document by which Hans renounces her. 
Nevertheless she refuses to wed any other man than 
the one her heart has chosen. Wenzel, approaching 
again, and recognizing in Mary the bride he had re- 
nounced, is now quite sorry to give her up, and very 
willing to take her if she will only yield. Mary, pray- 
ing to be left alone for a little while, abandons her- 
self to her grief, and is thus found by Hans, whom 
she bitterly reproaches for his faithlessness. But he 
only smiles, and recalls the whole chorus, coolly saying 
that it is his wish that Mary should wed Micha's son. 
That is too much for poor Mary's feelings. She de- 
clares that she is ready to do as they wish ; but before 
she signs the contract, Hans steps forth in full view of 
his parents, who at last recognize in him their long- 
lost eldest son. Though his stepmother Agnes is in a 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 353 

rage about his trick, he claims his rights as son and 
heir, and the bride of course is not loath to choose be- 
tween the two brothers. 

Kezul the matchmaker retires shamefaced, and when 
Wenzel shows himself in the last scene as a dancing- 
bear, and stammeringly assures the laughing public 
that they need not be afraid of him, as he is "not a 
bear but only Wenzel," the final blow is dealt whereby 
he loses all favor in the eyes of Kruschina, who is 
now quite reconciled to give his daughter to Micha's 
eldest son. 

DIE WALKURE 
(The Valkyrs) 

First day of the Nibelungen Ring by Richard Wagner. 

T N the first scene we are introduced into the dwelling 
•*• of a mighty warrior, Hunding, in whose house 
Siegmund, a son of Wotan and of a mortal woman, 
has sought refuge, without knowing that it is the abode 
of an enemy. Sieglinde, Hunding's wife, who, stand- 
ing alone and abandoned in the world, was forced into 
this union against her will, attracts the guest's interest 
and wins his love. 

When Hunding comes home from the fight, he 
learns, to his disgust, that his guest is the same warrior 
who killed his kinsmen and whom they vainly pursued. 
The laws of hospitality forbid him to attack Sieg- 
mtmd under his own roof, but he warns him that he 
will only await the morrow to fight him. 

Sieglinde, having fallen in love with her guest, mixes 
a powder with her husband's potion, which sends him 
into profound sleep. Then she returns to Siegmund, 



354 THE OPERA 

to whom she shows the hilt of the sword, thrust deep 
into the mighty ash-tree's stem, which fills the middle 
space of the hut. It has been put there by an imknown 
one-eyed wanderer (Wotan, who once sacrificed one 
of his eyes to Erda, wishing to gain more knowledge 
for the sake of mankind). No hero has succeeded 
until now in loosening the wondrous steel. Siegmund 
reveals to Sieglinde that he is a son of the Walsung, 
and they recognize that they are twin brother and sis- 
ter. Then Sieglinde knows that the sword is destined 
for Siegmund by his father, and Siegmund with one 
mighty effort draws it out of the ash-tree. He names 
the sword Northung (needful). SiegHnde elopes with 
him and the early morning finds them in a rocky pass, 
evading Hunding*s wrath. 

In the second scene we see Wotan giving directions 
to the Valkyr Briinnhilde, who is to shield Siegmund 
in his battle with Hunding. Brunnhilde is Wotan's 
and Erda's child and her father's favorite. But Fricka 
comes up, remonstrating violently against this breach 
of all moral and matrimonial laws; she is the protec- 
tor of marriages and most jealous of her somewhat 
fickle husband, and she forces Wotan to withdraw his 
protection from Siegmund and to remove the power of 
Siegmund's sword. 

Wotan recalls Brunnhilde, changing his orders with 
heavy heart and sending her forth to tell Siegmund 
his doom. She obeys, but Siegmund scorns all her 
fine promises of Valhalla. Though he is to find his 
father there, and everything besides that he could wish, 
he prefers foregoing all this happiness when he hears 
that Sieglinde, who has been rendered inanimate by 
grief and terror, cannot follow him, but must go dowA 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 355 

to Hel after her death, where the shadows lead a sad 
and gloomy existence. He wins Briinnhilde by his 
love and noble courage, and she for the first time re- 
solves to disobey Wotan's orders, given so unwillingly, 
and to help Siegmund against his foe. 

Now ensues the combat with Hunding, Briinnhilde 
standing on Siegmund's side. But Wotan interferes, 
breaking Siegmund*s sword ; he falls, and Wotan kills 
Hunding too by one wrathful glance. 

Then he turns his anger against the Valkyr who 
dared to disobey his commands and Briinnhilde flies 
before him, taking Sieglinde on her swift horse Grane, 
which bears both through the clouds. 

In the third scene we find the Valkyrs arriving 
through the clouds on horseback one after the other. 
Every one has a hero lying before her in the saddle. It 
is their office to carry these into Valhalla, while the 
faint-hearted, or those of mankind not happy enough 
to fall in battle, are doomed to go to Hel after their 
death. 

There are eight Valkyrs without Briinnhilde, who 
comes last with Sieglinde in her saddle, instead of a 
hero. She implores her sisters to assist her and the 
unhappy woman. But they refuse, fearing Wotan's 
wrath. Then she resolves to save Sieglinde and to 
brave the results of her rash deed alone. She first 
summons back to the despairing woman courage and 
desire to live, by telling her that she bears the token 
of Siegmund's love; then sends her eastward to the 
great forest with Grane, where Fafner the giant, 
changed into a dragon, guards the Rhinegold and the 
ill-fated ring, a spot which Wotan avoids. 

She gives to Sieglinde the broken pieces of Sieg- 



356 THE OPERA 

mund's sword, telling her to keep them for her son, 
whom she is to call Siegfried, and who will be the 
greatest hero in the world. 

Wotan arrives in thunder and lightning. Great is 
his wrath, and in spite of the intercession of the other 
Valkyrs he deprives Briinnhilde of her immortality, 
changing her into a common mortal. He dooms her to 
a long magic sleep, out of which any man who hap- 
pens to pass that way may awaken her and claim her 
as his property. 

Briinnhilde's entreaties, her beauty and noble bear-" 
ing at last prevail upon him, so that he encircles her 
with a fiery wall, through which none but a hero may 
penetrate. 

After a touching farewell the god, leading her to a 
rocky bed, closes her eyes with a kiss, and covers her 
with shield, spear, and helmet. Then he calls up Loge, 
who at once surrounds the rock on which Brunnhilde 
sleeps with glowing flames. 

X WERTHER 

Lyric Drama in three acts by Jules Massenet 
Text from Goethe by Blau, Milliet, and Hartmann. 

npHE scene is laid in Wetzlar, Prussia, in the year 
'■' 1772. The first act takes place in the house of 
Lotte's father, who is a bailiflf in his native city. He has 
assembled his younger children to teach them a new 
Christmas song. While they are practising, two friends 
of the bailiff enter and invite him to sup with them at 
the neighboring inn. He declines, and sits down in 
his armchair, while the smaller children, climbing on 
his knees, resume their interrupted song. During this 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 357 

pretty scene Werther approaches. He sees Lotte com- 
ing out of the house, becomingly attired for a country 
ball. She is duly admired by her father and the chil- 
dren. Then she acquits herself most charmingly of 
her household duties, distributing bread to the children. 
Werther meanwhile is cordially welcomed by her 
father. Other visitors come in, and Lotte goes to at- 
tend the ball, escorted by Werther. 

Sophia, the second daughter, persuades her father 
to join his friends at the inn and promises to look 
after the children. As soon as he is gone Albert, 
Lotte's affianced husband, who has been on a journey, 
returns. On hearing that Lotte is not at home, he 
leaves the house again. When night comes on, Lotte 
returns with Werther. He is deeply in love with her, 
and she listens to his sweet words like one in a dream, 
but when her father informs her that Albert has re- 
turned she comes to her senses. In answer to Wer- 
ther's questions she tells him that she promised her 
dying mother to wed Albert — a confession that leaves 
Werther a prey to gloom and despair. 

The second act takes place in the autumn of the 
same year. Lotte is married to Albert. She has con- 
quered her sentimental fancy for Werther and is sit- 
ting quietly with her husband, enjoying a peaceful 
Sabbath and the celebration of the village clergyman's 
golden wedding. Werther is a jealous witness of her 
happiness ; but when Albert welcomes him as a friend 
he cannot but accept his overtures. 

Sophia enters with a large bouquet for the clergy- 
man. She is in love with Werther, but the unhappy 
young man has eyes for her sister only, who receives 
him coldly and bids him leave the village. 



358 THE OPERA 

On seeing Werther so cast down, Lotte repents of 
her harshness and invites him to celebrate Christmas 
with her and her husband. But Werther refuses to be 
consoled and hurries away, notwithstanding Sophia's 
entreaties, vowing never to return. 

The third act takes us to Lotte's drawing-room. She 
is sitting alone in deep thought. Werther's frequent 
and passionate letters have reawakened her dormant 
love for him. Her sister, coming in laden with Christ- 
mas parcels, finds her in tears. Unable to console 
Lotte, Sophia takes her leave after inviting her to 
spend Christmas eve at her old home. 

Hardly has she gone when Werther appears. Un- 
able to keep away from Lotte any longer, he reminds 
her of her invitation for Christmas; and seeing his 
letters spread out on the table, he guesses that Lotte 
returns his love. An impassioned love-scene follows. 
Half unconscious, Lotte sinks into his arms, but the 
first kiss of her lover brings her to herself. Tearing 
herself from his embrace, she flees into her room and 
bolts the door. After vain remonstrances, Werther 
rushes out half-crazed. 

Albert, returning home, finds no one in. He calls 
Lotte. She appears, pale and distressed, and her 
husband perceives that something is wrong. Before 
she can reply to his questions a servant brings in a 
note from Werther, asking Albert for his pistol. The 
husband forces his unhappy wife to hand the weapon 
to the servant herself. As soon as Albert has gone 
Lotte seizes her hat and cloak and hastens out to pre- 
vent the impending calamity. Alas! she comes too 
late. 

The last scene shows Werther's room, dimly lighted 




WOTANS FARKWELL TO BRL'NNHILDE 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 359 

by the moon. The Qiristmas bells toll. Lotte enters, 
calling her lover by name. She discovers him lying on 
the floor mortally wounded. Now that he. is lost to 
her forever, she pours out all her love and for a brief 
space calls him back to life and sweetens his last mo- 
ments by a first kiss. He expires in her arms, while 
from the opposite house the children's voices are 
heard singing their Christmas song. 

ZAMPA 

Opera in three acts by Louis J. F. Herold. 
Text by Mellesville. 

T N the first act Camilla, daughter of Count Lugano, 
* expects her bridegroom Alfonso di Monza, a Sicil- 
ian officer, for the wedding ceremony. Dandolo, her 
servant, who was to bring the priest, comes back in a 
fright, and with him the notorious pirate captain, Zam- 
pa, who has taken her father and her bridegroom cap- 
tive. He tells Camilla who he is, and forces her to 
renounce Alfonso and consent to a marriage with him- 
self, threatening to kill the prisoners if she refuses 
compliance. 

Then the pirates hold a drinking-bout in the Count's 
house, and Zampa goes so far in his insolence as to put 
his bridal ring on the finger of a marble statue stand- 
ing in the room. It represents Alice, formerly Zam- 
pa's bride, whose heart was broken by her lover's 
faithlessness ; then the fingers of the statue close over 
the ring, while the left hand is upraised threateningly. 
Nevertheless 2^ampa is resolved to wed Camilla, though 
Alice appears once more, and even Alfonso, who in- 
terferes by revealing Zampa's real name and by im- 



36o THE OPERA 

ploring his bride to return to him, cannot change the 
brigand's plans. Zampa and his comrades have re- 
ceived the viceroy's pardon, purposing to fight against 
the Turks, and so Camilla dares not provoke the pi- 
rate's wrath by retracting her promise. Vainly she 
unplores Zampa to give her father his freedom and 
to let her enter a convent. Zampa, hoping that she only 
fears the pirate in him, tells her that he is Count of 
Monza, and Alfonso, who had already drawn his 
sword, throws it away, terrified to recognize in the 
dreaded pirate his own brother, who has by his extrav- 
agances once already impoverished him. 

Zampa sends Alfonso to prison and orders the 
statue to be thrown into the sea. Camilla once more 
begs for mercy, but seeing that it is likely to avail her 
nothing, she flies to the Madonna's altar, charging 
Zampa loudly with Alice's death. With scorn and 
laughter he seizes Camilla, to tear her from the altar, 
but instead of the living hand of Camilla, he feels the 
icy hand of Alice, who draws him with her into the 
waves. 

Camilla is saved and united to Alfonso, while her 
delivered father arrives in a boat, and the statue rises 
again from the waves, to bless the union. 

"Zampa" is generally regarded as the most impor- 
tant work of Herold, and while less popular than form- 
erly, it still keeps a place of its own. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 361 

DIE ZAUBERFLOTE 
(The Magic Flute) 

Opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

Text by Schikanedcr. 

pRINCE TAMINO, a youth as valiant as he is 
-'- noble and virtuous, is implored by the Queen of 
Night to save her daughter, whom the old and sage 
high priest Sarastro has taken from her by force. The 
bereaved mother pours forth her woe in heart-melting 
sounds and promises everything to the rescuer of her 
child. Tamino is filled with ardent desire to serve her. 
On his way he meets the gay Papageno, who at once 
agrees to share the Prince's adventures. Papageno is 
the gay element in the opera; always cheerful and in 
high spirits, his ever-ready tongue plays him many a 
funny trick. So we see him once with a lock on his 
mouth by way of punishment for his idle prating. As he 
promises never to tell a lie any more, the lock is taken 
away by the three ladies of the Queen of Night. They 
present Tamino with a golden flute, giving at the same 
time an instrument made with little silver bells to Papa- 
geno, both of which are to help them in times of dan- 
ger. The Queen of Night even sends with them three 
boy angels. These are to point out to them the ways 
and means by which they may attain their purpose. 

Now the young and beautiful Princess Pamina is 
pursued by declarations of love from a negro servant 
of Sarastro. Papageno comes to her rescue, frighten- 
ing the negro Monostatos with his feathery dress. 
Papageno, on the other hand, fears the negro on ac- 
count of his blackness, believing him to be the devil in 



362 THE OPERA 

person. Fapageno escapes with Patnina, but the negro 
overtakes him with his servants. Then Papageno 
shakes his bells, and all, forgetting their wrath, forth- 
with begin to dance. 

Meanwhile Tamino reaches Sarastrb's castle and at 
once asks for the high priest, poor Pamina's bitter 
enemy. The under priests do not allow him to enter, 
but explain that their master Sarastro is as good as 
he is sage, and that he always acts for the best. They 
assure Tamino that the Princess lives and is in no 
danger. Full of thanks the Prince begins to play on 
his flute; and just then he hears Papageno's bells. At 
this juncture Sarastro appears, the wise master before 
whom they all bow. He punishes the wicked negro; 
but Tamino and his Pamina are not to be united with- 
out first having given ample proof of their love and 
constancy. Tamino determines to undergo whatever 
trials may await him, but the Queen of Night, knowing 
all, sends her three ladies to deter Tamino and his 
comrade from their purpose. But all temptation is 
gallantly set aside; they have given a promise to Sa- 
rastro which they will keep. 

Even the Queen of Night herself is unable to weaken 
their strength of purpose; temptations of every kind 
overtake them, but Tamino remains firm. He is 
finally initiated into the mysteries of the goddess Isis. 

In the interval Pamina deems Tamino faithless. She 
would fain die, but the three celestial youths console 
her by assuring her that Tamino's love is true and that 
he passes through the most severe trials solely on her 
behalf. 

On hearing this, Pamina at once asks to share in the 
trials, and so they walk together through fire and 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 363 

water, protected by the golden flute as well as by their 
courage and constancy. They come out purified and 

happy. 

Papageno, having lost his companion, has grown 
quite melancholy and longs for the little wife that 
was promised to him and shown to him only for a 
few moments. He resolves at last to end his life by 
hanging himself, when the celestial youths appear, re- 
minding him of his bells. He begins to shake them, 
and Papagena appears in feathery dress, the very coun- 
terpart of himself. All might now be well were it not 
that the Queen of Night, a somewhat unreasonable 
lady, broods vengeance. She accepts the negro Monos- 
tatos as her avenger and promises to give him her 
daughter. But already Sarastro has done his work. 
Tamino is united to his Pamina, and before the sunny 
light of truth everything else vanishes and sinks back 
into night. 



ADDITIONAL OPERAS 



LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST 
(The Girl of the Golden West) 

Opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini. 
Text by Zangarini and Civinini. 

T^HIS opera is noteworthy in that, although by an 
^ Italian composer, it deals with an American sub- 
ject and is based on an American drama; and further 
for the fact that it was the first opera composed by a 
foreigner to have its premiere in the United States. 
The scene is a California mining camp in the foothills 
of the Cloudy Mountains; the time, 1849-50. 

Minnie, the "Girl," keeps the "Polka" saloon, and is 
a universal favorite among the miners. Over these 
rough but kindly souls she wields a restraining influ- 
ence. 

The first act opens at sundown in the interior of the 
"Polka." From without come cries and strains of 
song. Nick, the caretaker, lights the lamps, and the 
"Polka" begins to stir with life. Miners sit down to 
faro. Jake Wallace, the camrp minstrel, sings to his 
banjo a melancholy refrain of his distant home. The 
miners join in the music and a desperate homesickness 
overcomes them all. One of them, Larkens, begs to 
be sent back, and a purse is quickly made up for him. 
Faro is resumed. Sid is detected in cheating and the 
crowd is for hanging, but Jack Ranee, the sheriff, 
decrees that he shall wear the offending card pinned 

365 



366 THE OPERA 

above his heart and never again be allowed to join in 
the game. Ashby, agent of the Wells-Fargo express, 
appears and announces that after a three-months' 
search he is close upon Ramerrez, a notorious "greaser" 
highwayman whose depredations have long annoyed 
the community. Ranee, a cool, laconic gambler, be- 
lieves he has won Minnie's particular favor, and comes 
to blows with Sonora, who assurfes him that the Girl 
is fooling him. Minnie intervenes. The miners crowd 
about, making her little gifts of handkerchiefs and 
ribbons. She assembles them for their periodic Bible 
lesson, in which they are far from proficient. The 
mail arrives and the men fall to reading letters and 
papers. Ranee presses his suit but is repulsed. A 
stranger who proclaims himself one Johnson of Sacra- 
mento enters. He and Minnie have once met on the 
Monterey road and immediately recognize each other. 
Ranee professes to find offense in Johnson's behavior, 
calls upon the miners, but is discomfited by Minnie, 
who vouches for Johnson. Though she declares she 
has never danced, the Girl is persuaded by Johnson to 
try a step in the dance-room. Ashby, who has gone 
out, reappears with others, dragging Jose Castro, mem- 
ber of Ramerrez's band. Castro sees Johnson's saddle, 
recognizes it as his leader's — for Johnson is none other 
than Ramerrez — and, under pretext of personal re- 
venge, offers to conduct the posse to the outlaw's re- 
treat. Left with Minnie, Johnson makes a declaration 
to which Minnie responds, though she thinks herself 
too humble and ignorant for his regard. A signal 
from without summons Johnson, and he departs after 
accepting Minnie's invitation to call at her cabin, up 
the mountain. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 367 

The second act opens one hour later in Minnie's 
dwelling, with an Indian lullaby sung to her child by 
Wowkle, Minnie's squaw attendant. Minnie enters 
and begins preparations for Johnson's reception, don- 
ning her white slippers and other treasured finery. 
Johnson appears and quickly puts himself at his ease. 
Minnie describes the joys of her life and her delight 
in the mountains. Coffee and cakes are brought, and 
the talk grows more intimate. Wowkle departs. John- 
son, having received permission to linger, at last makes 
frank avowal of his love, which is returned by the 
Girl. Snow has been falling, and now a great gust 
drives open the door, revealing the violence of the 
storm. Johnson, in excitement, cries that he must 
be gone, but Minnie urges that he cann\>t make his way 
through the drifts and should remain until the morrow. 
Three pistol-shots are heard. Shouts from without 
warn Minnie of Ranee's approach. Johnson is hidden 
behind the bed-curtains, and Minnie opens the door for 
Ranee, Nick, Ashby, and Sonora. Ranee tells her that 
Johnson is Ramerrez; that his identity has been re- 
vealed to them by an inamorata, one Nina Micheltore- 
na ; that he had come to rob the "Polka" and had been 
seen taking the trail to Minnie's cabin. Minnie assures 
the men of her safety and they depart. Steeling her- 
self, she dismisses Johnson with contempt. He admits 
his identity, tells her how she had led him to wish for 
a better life, and goes out. A shot is heard, followed 
by the thud of a body against the door. Johnson is 
wounded. Minnie drags him in and helps him ascend 
the ladder to the loft. Ranee reenters, demanding 
Johnson, but M'innie mocks him. Blood, dropping 
from the ceiling, betrays Johnson, who comes slowly 



368 THE OPERA 

down and sinks in a faint. Minnie proposes that she 
and Ranee play a game of poker for Johnson's life; 
Ranee, if he wins, to take Johnson and herself. She 
substitutes prepared cards and wins the game, and 
Ranee coldly withdraws. 

Act three takes place on the edge of a redwood 
forest, where the miners have a rude camp. Ranee, 
Ashby, and Nick await news from the pursuit of John- 
son. Shouts sound more and more distinctly and 
stragglers announce success. Ranee voices his mali- 
cious joy at Minnie's grief. The pursuit passes back 
and forth, but Johnson is at last overtaken and is 
formally delivered to Ranee by Ashby. Ranee receives 
Johnson with studied insult. The miners accuse the 
captive of various crimes and lastly of the theft of 
Minnie's eyes and smiles. Johnson is brought for- 
ward to the tree, where stands Billy with the noose. 
Permission is given to him to speak, and he begs that 
Minnie shall never be told the manner of his death. 
Suddenly Minnie herself dashes in on horseback, close- 
ly followed by Nick, who has summoned her. She 
throws herself before Johnson and levels a pistol at 
the crowd. Ranee urges on the men, who threatening- 
ly advance. Minnie declares she will kill herself and 
Johnson. Sonora takes her part, and Ranee grimly 
retires to a seat by the fire. Minnie reminds her hear- 
ers of old days, tells them of Johnson's reformation, 
and asks his release. Sonora, in the name of all, un- 
binds Johnson, who vows they will never regret their 
mercy. Amid subdued sobs, Minnie bids farewell to 
her friends, her California, and her beloved Sierras; 
then, supported by Johnson, passes out on her way to 
her new life. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 369 

KONIGSKINDER 
(Kingly Children) 

Fairy Opera in three acts by Engelbert Humperdinck. 

Text by Rosmer. 

T IKE "The Girl of the Golden West," this opera, 
-^ although by a foreign composer, had its first pres- 
entation at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. 
The text is an adaptation of a more or less familiar 
German story, a dramatic version of which had already 
been given in this country. 

The first act takes place in a small sunlit glade in 
the Hella Mountains near the town of Hellabrunn. 
Here stands the hut of the Witch, and all about stretch 
the woods. With the Witch lives the Goose-Girl, who, 
when the scene opens, is discovered lying beneath a 
linden-tree tending her flock. The Witch appears, 
scolds the Girl, and orders her to assist in preparing 
a magic pasty that will kill whoever may eat of it. The 
Goose-Girl rebels against her lot and requests the 
Witch to allow her to go down into the world below, 
where she might be happy. The Witch refuses and 
tells her that all mankind is hateful. From the hill- 
side comes a youth clad in a shabby hunting costume. 
On a stick he carries a bundle. He is, in reality, the 
King's Son ; and in the bundle he bears a royal crown. 
The King's Son tells the Goose-Girl of his wanderings 
through the hills and says that he was once in the 
service of a great king. When the Goose-Girl asks 
what a king may be, he replies by telling her that he 
is a ruler who guards his subjects in much the same 
way that she tends her geese. He describes the joys 
of woodland life and begs her to go a-maying with 



370 THE OPERA 

him, takes her in his arms, and kisses her. As he does 
so, a gust of wind blows away a wreath of wood-flow- 
ers which the Girl has been wearing. The King's Son 
recovers the wreath, hides it near his heart, and in 
exchange for it offers the Goose-Girl his crown. The 
two are about to flee together, when the Girl finds 
herself fastened to the spot by some magic spell. 
Thinking that she is afraid to roam with him and re- 
buking her with her unworthiness to be his companion, 
the King's Son leaves her, vowing that she never shall 
see him again until a star has fallen into a lily which is 
blooming near by. The Witch reappears, berates the 
Girl for having wasted her time upon a mortal man, 
and drives her into the house. Now enter a fiddler, 
a woodcutter, and a broommaker. The King has just 
died and they have been sent by the town of Hellabrunn 
to ask of the Witch where the King's Son may be 
found. The woodcutter and the broommaker are in 
terror of the old hag, but the fiddler scorns her and 
her powers. To their queries the Witch replies that 
the first person who enters the town-gate at noon the 
following day should wear the crown. The woodcut- 
ter and the broommaker return to Hellabrunn, but the 
fiddler lingers. The Goose-Girl reappears and confides 
her sorrows to the fiddler, who assures her that she 
will wed the King s Son. The Witch sneers at this 
and assures the fiddler that the Goose-Girl is the child 
of a hangman's daughter. The Goose-Girl, however, 
does not lose courage, for she feels that her soul is 
royal. As she kneels in prayer for help, a star falls 
from the heavens upon the lily, and the Girl, followed 
by her geese, rushes into the wood to join her lover. 
. The second act opens in front of an inn near the 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 371 

town-gate of Hellabrunn. The King's Son enters, 
clad, as before, in his worn garments. The innkeeper's 
daughter gives him food and drink, and is angry be- 
cause he does not respond to her advances. Towns- 
people enter, the tables and benches are occupied, and 
there is music and dancing. The King's Son offers 
himself to the innkeeper as an apprentice, but is told 
that there is no work for him unless he is willing to 
become a swineherd. The counselors and well-to-do 
burghers appear and seat themselves in a tribune erect- 
ed for them. The senior counselor requests the wood- 
cutter to relate his adventures in the wood. He tells 
of many (purely imaginary) dangers encountered by 
him in the journey with the broommaker, and the 
King's Son is amazed at his narrative. The woodcut- 
ter asserts that on the stroke of twelve the King s Son 
will enter the gate in glittering raiment and drawn in 
a car of gold. The King's Son steps into the circle and 
asks if the expected monarch might not come clad in 
rags, but is met with ridicule from the crowd. At the 
twelfth stroke of the clock the gate is thrown wide 
open, and the Goose-Girl enters attended by her flock 
of geese. A few steps behind her comes the fiddler. 
She greets the King's Son and tells him that she has 
come to join him on the throne ; but the crowd bursts 
into loud laughter and at last, despite the protests of 
the fiddler, drives the two forth with sticks and stones. 
The little daughter of the broommaker is the only one 
who believes that they are the true king and queen. 

In the third act we return to the glade in the woods. 
It is now winter. The Witch has been burned at the 
stake for her supposed betrayal of the people, to whom 
she promised a new ruler. The fiddler has been 



372 THE OPERA 

maimed and imprisoned for his defense of the two 
outcasts, and upon his release has come to live in the 
Witch's hut. He is feeding doves left behind by the 
Goose-Girl, when he is interrupted by the arrival of 
the woodcutter and the broommaker, accompanied by a 
band of children. They entreat him to return to Hella- 
brunn, but he refuses. At last one of the children begs 
him to lead them in search for the lost king and queen, 
and he agrees to do so. The woodcutter and the 
broommaker enter the hut, where, in rummaging about, 
they discover in a box the poisoned pasty which the 
Witch had baked. The fiddler has entered the wood in 
the background with the children, and now his song 
is heard in the distance. As it dies away, the snow 
begins to fall heavily and it grows darker. The King's 
Son and the Goose-Girl reappear, hungry and worn 
with wandering. They pause to rest and the King's 
Son knocks at the door of the hut to beg food and 
shelter. The woodcutter brutally refuses to give them 
anything. The Goose-Girl draws the King's Son away 
from the hut and leads him to the hillside. To com- 
fort him, she pretends she is none the worse for her 
long travels, and, throwing off her cloak, attempts to 
dance and sing. She soon grows faint and falls. The 
King's Son then returns to the hut and barters his 
crown for the poisoned pasty. The outcasts eat it and 
soon fall asleep, believing themselves in a land of 
roses. The fiddler reappears with his troop of chil- 
dren, and, too late, they discover those whom they seek. 
They place the two upon a bier made of pine-branches, 
and as they move away sing a lament for the Kingly 
Children. 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 373 

NATOMA 

Opera in three acts by Victor Herbert 
Text (in English) by Redding. 

T^HE locale of the opera is California and the time 
^ is the early nineteenth century, when the Span- 
iards still held sway. Natoma, whose name means the 
**girl from the mountains," is an Indian girl of pure 
blood. 

The first act is laid on the island of Santa Cruz, one 
of the Santa Barbara Channel islands. Here live Don 
Francisco Guerra, a noble Spaniard of the old school, 
and his daughter Barbara. She is just coming of age, 
and to-day returns home from her convent studies on 
the mainland. Don Francisco is seated upon the porch 
of his hacienda and muses on the flight of time. Soon 
arrives Alvarado, accompanied by his chums, Castro, 
Pico, and Kagama, to hunt the wild boar found in the 
mountains of the island. Alvarado, a fiery young 
Spaniard, is a cousin of Barbara and a suitor for her 
hand. Castro is a half-breed, part Indian and part 
Spaniard, and hates Spaniard and American alike. 
The party is received with Spanish formalities and then 
departs for the hunt, while Don Francisco retires for 
his siesta. Natoma, the playmate and handmaid of 
Barbara, appears at the back of the stage with Lieu- 
tenant Merrill, an American naval officer, who has 
several times visited the island. About her neck Na- 
toma wears as an amulet a small abalone-shell hung 
upon a bead necklace. Merrill bids her tell him the 
meaning of this amulet, and she recites the legend of 
her people. He salutes her as queen of this fair do- 
main, but she responds sadly that her father's people 



374 THE OPERA 

have vanished and a stranger has now come to rule. 
Replying to his questions, she describes Barbara in 
glowing terms, and then, falling at his feet, begs to be 
allowed to become his slave. Barbara arrives, ac- 
companied by Father Peralta. Castro upbraids Natoma 
for spending her time with the white people and bids 
her come with him, but she spurns him as a half-breed. 
The hunting party returns. Alvarado serenades Bar- 
bara and presses his suit. He taunts her with having 
fallen under the glances of the Americano, and she 
abruptly leaves him. Castro explains to Alvarado how 
upon the morrow, when on the great fiesta day the 
country is assembled to do honor to Barbara at her 
coming of age, swift horses may be ready and the girl 
may be spirited away to the mountains. Don Fran- 
cisco and Barbara are left on the porch in the moon- 
light. At last the old man retires. Lieutenant Merrill 
returns hurriedly and makes declaration of his love. 
A light appears in the hacienda and Merrill leaves until 
the morrow. Barbara disappears in the hacienda, and 
Natoma is seen at the window with a lighted candle in 
her hands. She seats herself at a table in the window 
and looks silently out into the moonlight as the cur- 
tain falls. 

The second act takes place on the mainland in the 
Plaza of Santa Barbara, with the towers of the mission 
church in the background. It is just before dawn. 
Alvarado and his cronies appear and discuss their 
plans. In an elaborate ensemble the soldiers cheer 
the flag of Spain carried by the friars on the steps of 
the church. The plaza begins to stir with life. Don 
Francisco and Barbara enter on horseback, Natoma 
walking at Barbara's side. Having dismounted, they 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 375 

ascend the grand stand, where a formal ceremony takes 
place. Alvarado claims the honor of a dance with Bar- 
bara, and they tread the measure of a minuet. Lieu- 
tenant Merrill and other officers enter with American 
sailors. After formal presentations have been made, 
Alvarado comes forward and demands that the dance 
be continued. By preconcerted arrangement ten or 
twelve couples now take part. The music breaks into the 
panuelo or the dance of the proposal, at the climax of 
which each gallant places his hat upon the head of his 
lady. Barbara tosses Alvarado's hat to one side and re- 
joins her father. Castro in ugly mood breaks through 
the crowd and, thrusting his dagger into the ground, de- 
mands who will dare to dance with him the dagger- 
dance of primitive California. Natoma responds to 
this challenge. Castro at first refuses to dance with 
her, but at last yields to her authority. As they dance, 
the leather thongs supporting the railing of the grand 
stand are quietly unfastened, and Alvarado, smother- 
ing Barbara in his serape, attempts to make off with 
her. Natoma passes Castro in the dance and plunges 
her dagger into Alvarado. Castro is held down by 
some of the officers. Natoma stands motionless, dag- 
ger in hand, while the crowd, quickly apprehending 
the tragedy, would fall upon her and tear her to pieces. 
Lieutenant Merrill draws his sword and, with his men, 
holds the mob at bay. The great doors of the church 
now open and Father Peralta appears. The people 
fall upon their knees. Natoma, letting fall her weapon, 
staggers toward the steps of the church and sinks at 
the feet of the priest, who exclaims : " 'Vengeance is 
mine,' saith the Lord.*' 
At the opening of the third act, Natoma is found 



376 THE OPERA 

alone in the mission church, where she is huddled 
upon the altar crooning an Indian song. She then de- 
picts the injustice done her race by the white man and 
invokes the Great Spirit to destroy the strangers. Fa- 
ther Peralta appears and quiets her, as in simple lan- 
guage he recalls to her her childhood days with Bar- 
bara. She realizes that by accepting the protection of 
the church, although her own dream of happiness is 
ended, she will bring happiness to her idolized mistress. 
The doors of the church are thrown open and Natoma 
stands upon the steps of the altar. Father Peralta 
explains from the pulpit that a crime has been commit- 
ted and punishment must follow. From the convent 
garden the nuns enter and kneel in the hall. Slowly 
Natoma descends the altar-steps and walks to where 
Barbara and Paul are seated. Barbara and Paul come 
from their pews and kneel in the hall before her, while 
she gently places the amulet around Barbara's neck. 
She passes down between the kneeling nuns and stands 
in the doorway. The nuns rise and disappear into the 
garden. Father Peralta lifts his hands in benediction, 
and the orchestra sounds the chords of Natoma's 
Indian theme of Fate as the doors are closed upon her. 

MONA 

Opera in three acts by Horatio W. Parker. 
Text by Hooker. 

A PRIZE of $10,000, offered by the directors of the 
-**• Metropolitan Opera Company, New York, for 
the best grand opera to be composed by an American to 
a libretto in English, was unanimously awarded to 
"Mona," the music of which is the work of one of our 
contributors. The scene of the opera is southwestern 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 377 

Britain; the time, the close of the first century, a. d. 
The story is, however, wholly fictitious. 

Act first passes in the hut of Arth, a British tribes- 
man. Burned in the lintel above the doorway is the 
sign of the Unspeakable Name, indicating that here 
dwells a druid — Gloom, Arth's son. The other mem- 
bers of this household are Enya, Arth's wife ; Nial, a 
changeling, who looks in amaze at the strange commo- 
tions of human life and is wise in the lore of bird and 
beast ; and the foster-daughter, Mona, last of the blood 
of Queen Boadicea. Mona is to wed Gwynn, whose 
true name is Quintus, his mother having been a British 
captive and his father being Roman governor of 
Britain. Gwynn dwells among his mother's people^ 
who are unaware o^his real origin. He hopes to 
reconcile the British to Roman rule, and has influ- 
enced the governor toward a more humane and lib- 
eral policy. But Gloom and Caradoc, a bard, have 
long been chief conspirators against Rome, and Mona 
has been chosen, because of birthright and old 
signs, to lead the revolt. She, devoutly believ- 
ing in her mission and eager for usefulness, dreams 
of great deeds. Of all this Gwynn has suspected 
nothing. Mona now reveals to him that she has 
been sealed for a great adventure. Arth strides in 
and flings at her feet an unsheathed Roman sword, 
taken from a soldier whom he has slain in violation of 
the peace. Mona recognizes the sword as one she 
wielded in a strange dream, the meaning of which none 
can tell her. She is inspired to a prophetic frenzy, 
which is augmented by the arrival of Gloom and Cara- 
doc. Caradoc, Arth, and Gloom formally declare the 
peace broken; and Gwynn is led to swear fellowship 



378 THE OPERA 

in their conspiracy. Mona dons druidic robes. Gwynn 
seeks to sway her from her purpose; but, urged by 
Gloom and Caradoc, she repels and dismisses him. 
Arth, Gloom, and Caradoc do reverence to Mona as 
Queen. She half turns to follow Gwynn, lets fall the 
sword, and stands sobbing as the curtain falls. 

Act second takes place in a cromlech, or open-air 
druidic temple. Nial is discovered, at evening, dancing 
with his shadow and talking to the birds. The gov- 
ernor enters with a few soldiers, whom he orders to 
seize and torture Nial in order to obtain information. 
Gwynn suddenly appears, orders Nial's release, and 
explains to the governor his hope that Mona and he 
will yet be able to hold back rebellion. To his plan the 
governor at last agrees. When, with falling dusk, the 
Romans have departed, Mona and Gloom enter and 
make tally of the British forces. Gwynn, returning, 
conquers her decision regarding himself; but when 
he would unfold his cherished designs for peace, she, 
at once changed and scarcely comprehending his asser- 
tion of Roman birth, cries out "Treason !" and calls in 
the Britons. She cannot, however, deliver him to 
death, but, declaring that he is a bard, orders that he 
be bound and led away unhurt. The Britons rally, and 
to the music of a war-chant rush forth against the 
Roman town. 

Act third is accomplished on a small plateau at the 
forest's edge, facing the Roman town, which stands 
upon a corresponding rise at the other side of the val- 
ley. The attack has been successfully met, and the 
defeated Britons straggle back to cover. Arth has 
fallen ; Gloom, his right arm broken, stumbles in, half 
carrying Mona. Mona, in dull grief, bewails the out- 



HISTORY AND GUIDE 379 

come. Gwynn, who in the turmoil has made his 
escape, finds them, reveals his origin, and seeks Mona's 
aid. Gloom jeers him; and Mona, deeming he lies, 
and blaming him for British disaster and herself for 
having once spared his life, now slays him with the 
Roman sword that she has carried. The governor 
arrives with legionaries and archers, discovers Gwynn's 
body, in a fierce outburst denounces the Britons, and 
thus makes known to Mona, before she is led away, 
how Gwynn, whom she has slain, was the Britons' best 
friend and might have averted their fall. 



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STANFORD UNIVERSITY UBRARIES 
SIANFORD. CAUFORNIA 

94505